Everyone wants a house free from sickness. It's a no-brainer scenario. But while people are talking about cleaning the things that hands touch daily, like doorknobs and sink handles, very little attention is being paid to the floor you walk on. That's because, as a culture, we're just not very aware of what's going on under our shoes. Paying attention to this critical detail could be a big way to prevent illnesses from entering your home in the first place and a major step towards having peace of mind if you're someone who works at home, even if it's only temporary.
But don't take it from me, take it from medical experts. A recent study conducted on SARS-COV-2 (the virus that's also known as Coronavirus in the news) showed that the virus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel. Daniel Kuritzkes, an infectious disease expert at Brigham and Women's Hospital, had this to say regarding viruses like the Coronavirus (COVID-19/SARS-COV-2):
Flat surfaces and hard surfaces are more friendly to viruses than cloth or rough surfaces.
That's a pretty clear recommendation to keep the floors and other commonly-touched surfaces around you as clean as possible, but who wants to add another thing to clean to the already growing laundry list? I certainly don't, and that's why I'd like to outline a few ways you can do this with very little effort, helping free up your time without having to do much of anything at all.
Don't bring the outside in
While it's entirely unreasonable to have a lab-grade sterilized home (and probably bad for your immune system, anyway), taking a few extra steps to lower the bad germ count is never a bad thing. So when you've been traipsing around outdoors, using public bathrooms, or even stepping in muck, think about what kinds of nastiness is sitting on the bottom of your shoes.
One study from the University of Arizona showed that the bottom of shoes are akin to a "Petri dish you can wear". An excerpt from the study says about all that needs to be said in a modern-day Coronavirus-filled newsreel:
Throughout the entirety of the research, the team found nine different species of bacteria on the shoes of randomly selected people and were able to determine that the viruses actually thrive better on shoes than toilets.
So do yourself and your family a favor; take off your shoes as you enter your home. It's the first step in preventing viruses and other nasties from the outside world getting into your home. But let's recognize one of the reasons that many leave their shoes on: convenience. It's downright inconvenient to have to take your shoes off every time you come into the house and put them back on every time you step out the door.
At our house, we have a shoe rack and a bench that makes taking off and putting on shoes a much easier process. You could also consider getting slip-on style shoes that are easier to simply slide on and off as you need to enter and leave your home. There are plenty of ways to make it more convenient, but the point is this: the more convenient you make the process, the more likely your household and guests are going to follow that process.
Other folks might cite the need for additional support because of foot, leg, hip, or back problems. If you fall into this category or are just looking for a bit more support than bare feet on a wood floor brings, consider getting a dedicated pair of household shoes that you only wear indoors. It could be something simple, like this pair of slip-on sandals for the warmer months of the year, or a warmer option for the winter months. Either way, it's important to offer support for sore feet so that you don't end up compromising on cleanliness.
Clean from the inside out
A regular routine of cleaning is another important way to keep your loved ones as healthy as possible. But let's face it, just as taking your shoes on and off is an inconvenience, cleaning your home daily is also an annoying inconvenience. While it's not likely that you'll have someone that will be willing to help you with your shoes every time you enter and exit your home, there is something that can clean your floors for you: a robot.
Don't want to clean every day? Ask Google to make your robo vac do it.
A robot vacuum can help remove some of the bigger, more visible dirt and grime from your home. It can clean the little specks off the floor that get stepped on, and it can help pull out the gunk that gets trapped inside the carpet. While a regular vacuum can do this too, the onus is on you to pull the vacuum out of the closet, set it up, vacuum, empty the bag or container, and put it away again. That's more than I want to do every day, which is why I love that I can run a robot vacuum by asking Google to clean my home, or to clean a specific room with a few taps on my phone.
While you may have an idea of a robot vacuum being some unintelligent little disc that bounces around the room and hardly cleans anything, modern robot vacuums are anything but dumb. Sure, you'll still need to clean up random objects on the floor before operating, like toys, cords, and socks, but modern robot vacuums like the Roborock S5 Max will clean every square inch of your home in a measured, intelligent manner.
Many robot vacuums from Roborock and ECOVACS feature a mopping accessory that can help pick up smaller bits of dirt and grime via a wet pad on the back. These pads are washable and reusable, but both companies also sell disposable pads if you'd rather use those. These robots can be run on a regular schedule, and they'll help keep the dirt off of your floors and help keep them feeling nice on your feet. That's the first step to keeping your sanity around the home and feeling like your house is a clean, safe haven.
Don't forget what you can't see
But it's not just about sucking up dirt that's the most important thing though; it's actually sanitizing the floor that's the most important in this particular conversation. That's why a dedicated mopping robot is also important to have. Robots like the iRobot Braava jet m6 can roam your home and spray disinfectant on your floors throughout the day in a way most humans would never have the patience to do.
That last part is particularly important because cleaning is an inconvenience and, as was said before, most people will simply stop doing things that are inconvenient after a period of time. Something as low-maintenance and easy to use as the iRobot Braava jet m6 means you're far more likely to live in a home with clean floors than if you didn't have a robot with this capability. The Braava jet m6 is able to run on a regular schedule, has reusable and washable pads that can be used in place of disposable ones, and it has intelligent navigation that can clean your home inch by inch without missing a spot.
You can also put cleaning solution into the water tank, so you know your floors are actually being cleaned and sanitized. iRobot maintains its own line of cleaning solution that's built to work perfectly with the Braava jet m6 and all its mechanical functions. The mop sprays the solution out ahead of it and wipes it up with the cleaning cloth underneath, eliminating the need for manual mopping altogether.
But not everyone needs to expense of the Braava jet m6 because not everyone lives in a home that's large enough to merit this type of purchase. Thankfully, iRobot also sells the Braava jet 240 that's a fraction of the price and performs a similar task for smaller homes and apartments.
The Braava jet m6 will need to be manually placed in the room it's going to clean but, beyond that, it's automated in a way that it can function without human intervention. You'll have to purchase clean pads in order to guarantee floor sterilization of any kind, as the tank is only rated for water, but the expense is minimal and the disposable nature of the pads might give some people more peace of mind.
You'll only have to do a little bit
Robots are a great way to help keep things a lot cleaner than they otherwise would be. Busy modern lives often leave people with very little time or energy at the end of the day to do important tasks for our health, like cleaning or exercise. This all means that putting practices into place that will help us live happier and healthier lives is all the more important.
With the regular barrage of illnesses that cycle on an annual basis, not to mention increased awareness because of viruses like COVID-19, cleanliness is on the top of everyone's mind. As with anything that we have to do day in and day out, though, these new habits will eventually turn into menial chores and become things we simply don't want to do or deal with. If we build routines into our lives that hedge against these feelings, we're far more likely to follow through with them in the future, and that's something truly important to consider.
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