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10 things that aren’t true about hygiene

There are a lot of things we think we know about those germs all around us, but only some of that stuff is true.

We've got a handy crash course in hygiene fact and fiction for you.

Mental Floss made this entertaining video that somehow still manages to clear up misconceptions about staying clean and germ-free. Scroll down if you want to get right to it.

Misconception #1: The five-second rule (0:16)


Sadly, not true. The little buggers start climbing on your food right away. Sigh.

2. Soap kills germs. (0:48)

Soap doesn't actually kill anything. It just makes germs slide off your hands when you rinse them in clean water.

3. Viruses stay alive on hard surfaces a long time. (1:05)

Well, what's a long time? Depends on the germ. But even the cold virus can't get you after 24 hours.

4. Urine disinfects burns and stings. (1:27)

Ew. Plus, urine is *not* a disinfectant. It's not even sterile, contrary to what some people think.

5. The toilet seat is very germy. (1:46)

Well, it is a potty, but there are fewer germs on it than on your desk. There's also more on the flush handle. You won't catch diseases from a toilet, though, including STDs.

6. Everyone washes their hands. (2:19)


Er, 10% of people don't wash their hands after using a public restroom. What are they thinking?

7. Everyone washes their hands correctly. (2:50)

95% of us don't. Yipes. There's a tutorial in the video.

8. Hand dryers blow germs around. (3:35)

Nope.

9. Dirty people get lice. (4:09)

Again, nope. It just takes head-to-head contact with someone who has it.

10. Hand sanitizers cause bacterial resistance. (4:31)

Probably not. Sanitizer kills germs as long as it's at least 60% alcohol and doesn't contain triclosan or triclocarban.

Here's the video. There's a lot more amusing, helpful, and fact-y info in it. Enjoy.

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