6 Hygiene Myths You Have to Stop Believing

New coronavirus vaccine

Everyone has health habits and routines they blindly follow because they were taught about them in childhood. However, sometimes even when following these unwritten rules, things don’t work out. That is the moment you start wondering about your choices and habits, only to find out you’ve been doing it the wrong way! Despite the advice you hear from your friends and loved ones, it’s always good to question it and do your own research when it comes to life-changing habits. There are many health misconceptions regarding our daily routines. So, here are 6 hygiene myths you have to stop believing!

  1. The famous  5-second rule

The 5-second rule is one of the most famous hygiene myths popularized by modern culture. Viruses and bacteria take a millisecond to contaminate any surface, including food. Now imagine the accumulation of germs on the ground. For example, the flu virus can stay on hard surfaces for up to 8 hours! Not to mention other horrific diseases that stick to our shoe soles in public spaces and areas like the gym, where infections can quickly spread. If we are not careful, germs will easily find their way into our homes. Most common are Micrococcus, Pseudomonas, and Staphylococcus. Thus, if you drop your food on the floor, even in your own kitchen, maybe you should throw it away. Just to be safe!

school food hygiene

2.  All bacteria in food are killed after freezing

Wrong. Freezing food is a great way to maintain its freshness and kill some unwanted bacteria in it. However, different types of bacteria can stay alive at -18°C! And even though the freezing environment is not a perfect breeding ground, they can still stay alive long enough till defrosting. It’s when the multiplying process will resume. Thus, it’s essential to cook your food after defrosting.


The same goes for the food in the fridge. It may seem your food is safely preserved, but it’s not. Every time you open the refrigerator to reach for a cool beverage or snack, the temperature drops slightly. Therefore, it’s important to regularly check the temperature to make sure it’s between 0 and 4 °C. To be safe, turn your thermostat to 2 °C.

3.  If I frequently wash my hands, they will be germ-free

Partially wrong. Many people believe that frequent hand washing will ensure they stay healthy. And that is true in a way. Like most things in life, it’s more about quality than quantity when it comes to hand washing. It doesn’t matter if you use soap ten times a day if you only use it for three seconds. That is not only ineffective, but it can also spread the existing bacteria all over your hands and make it worse. Every soap needs time to kill the germs on your skin, so be patient!

By treating your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, you can be sure the job is well done. But let’s not forget the technique! Your hands must be covered equally, especially in between fingers. However, if you’re often on the move and don’t have the option of maintaining hand hygiene through old fashion handwashing, make sure to have a sanitizing solution on you at all times.

Caption: Quality is more important than quantity A father teaching his daughter to wash hands properly

Caption: Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to handwashing. A father teaching his daughter to wash hands properly

4.  Viruses can’t stay alive on hard surfaces for long

Really? Maybe you should check your phone screen and laptop keyboard. There is a popular hygiene myth that public toilets are the primary source of bacteria and viruses. However, researchers from the University of Arizona discovered that a keyboard has 400 times more germs than a toilet seat! Unlike the surfaces we use most for work, toilets are cleaned daily, sometimes even multiple times, with strong antibacterial and disinfectant products. Therefore, instead of developing an irrational fear of public toilets, learn how to make your workplace neat and germ-free. With proper office cleaning, you will eliminate one of the most common reasons for bacterial and viral infections.

5.  I have to brush my teeth immediately after eating

Not recommendable. Having good dental hygiene is very important. No one can blame you for wanting to have a bright smile! However, rushing to brush your teeth right after a meal is not always a smart thing to do. You just had your lunch that may have been a bit acidic. Brushing your teeth right away could damage your enamel. To clean your teeth, wait at least 30 to 60 minutes for digestion to start.

Caption: A lot of hygiene myths you have to stop believing include dental Hands holding dental hygiene products

Caption: A lot of hygiene myths you have to stop believing include dental health maintenance.
Alt-tag: Hands holding dental hygiene products

6.  Reusing my own bath towel is ok

Wrong! We make many mistakes when using the bathroom. Still, using the same bath towel multiple times is the most common one. It’s important to know that we clean a ton of bacteria off our bodies every time we take a bath. And even though we use soap that removes germs, not all of the bacteria can be completely washed off! Additionally, bath towels are constantly wet, which is the perfect breeding ground for more germs! You should only wipe your body once with it and wash it.

Also, having at least two different bath towels for your intimate regions and the rest of the body is recommendable.


With so much information on the internet, no one can blame us for believing many hygiene myths. Sometimes it’s hard to separate fact from fiction without the help of an expert. But now that you know these 6 hygiene myths you have to stop believing, try to explore and question more of your daily habits. Such decisions can significantly improve your health and quality of life. You will not only have better self-care, but you’re also going to contribute to maintaining your living and working space clean and healthy.