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Stoking paranoia about germs

February 21, 2010

It’s hard to say which of the irritating adverts on TV gets my goat the most, but vying with air freshener ads (can’t stand air freshener – vile stuff) for first place in my brain are the ones banging on about the dangers of hidden germs. If it’s not extra products to clean the inside of your dishwasher (because clearly the usual tablets only clean crockery, glasses and cutlery, not anything they come into contact with…), it’s ads designed to make you fear everything in your house.

False-colour transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of the Gram-negative bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.

Last night I suffered two of this type almost back to back – one for Dettol and one for Vanish. Both insinuated (with identical germ avatars) that without their products your surfaces and sheets will be buzzing with lethal bacteria that will harm your children. Quite aside from the fact that bedsheets can be washed on a hot wash if required (and it does your washing machine good to have an occasional hot wash run through it), bacteria are an essential part of life.

True you don’t want listeria, salmonella, e.coli on your work surfaces, but good hygiene practices (washing your cleaning cloths daily for example) and a homemade mix of white vinegar and water can keep your kitchen as clean as you need it to be.

eHow has some excellent tips on keeping your kitchen clean and hygenic using simple and cheap methods; and there are plenty of other sources of advice to be found using your preferred search engine.

So, strike a blow for common sense and resist the lure of Reckitt Benckiser’s vision of a germ-free world. For vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and other green cleaners in bulk, head to Summer Naturals (delivery costs are pretty reasonable if you buy lots of stuff at once). This site also has some useful recipes for cleaners too. I promise it’s no harder to clean with this stuff than bottles of bleach and other environmentally-damaging products. I’m no domestic goddess – I don’t want to spend a moment more cleaning than necessary, so believe me when I say I wouldn’t be using vinegar and bicarb if it wasn’t easy!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Peat permalink
    February 25, 2010 12:33 am

    Ah marketing….
    My sink was blocked recently and I wanted to buy a simple plunger to fix it. I wandered into town and couldn’t find one so was forced to try a number of chemical alternatives – none of which worked – hence the multiple trips. Even Mr Muscle was shite. So a few trips to town and many pounds spent were wasted. And I poured lots of awful chemicals into a fragile drainage system.
    I eventually resorted to driving to B&Q and paying the princely sum of 99p for a plunger. Fixed the sink in 60 seconds and is in the cupboard for next time it happens.
    Hmmm… marketing.

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