Grandma’s Top Five Cleanliness in Public Tips For Grandchildren

cleaningWhen our eldest was being toilet trained, she fixated on only using the home toilet.  We had to return home for her to go or, the good news and bad news was that she would hold it until we got home.  Needless to say, this limited our range of movement.  I do not know why I allowed this, but she was our first, and I did not know better.  When she was two and a half, Disney in Orlando was a desired destination.  Yes, it was open that many years ago, but barely.  I had to prepare our daughter for the toilet trauma that I anticipated.  I created a ritual of making public toilets acceptable for use.  Just in case, I booked the Contemporary Hotel at Disney, which was only one monorail stop back from the Magic Kingdom.  I use the ritual to anoint the toilet in the hotel room so she would use it.  Unfortunately, I was still a fairly new mother of a first child, and once she realized that it was only one stop back to the hotel, that was my downfall.  Yes, we monorailed back for toilet use.  I think all of us grandparents have such stories of indulgence of our first child.  Our second, when she was being toilet trained, could not hold it on a car ride, and peed in the car.  That was just fine for this then mother of two who knew better than to freak out about toilet training.  It cleaned up fine.

Part of the first child toilet ritual has become part of this Grandma’s top cleanliness in public tips that I impart to our grandchildren.  Yes, I always agree to accompany them to a public toilet and remind them of the cleanliness tips, even as I wait outside the men’s room, and worry that my precious grandsons are in there without me (I love family bathrooms and hate that there still are not enough changing tables in the mens’ public bathrooms). Yes, my accompaniment is partially to be able to impart and reinforce cleanliness in public travel tips.  My ‘clean freakiness’ extends generations!

Here are this Grandma’s top five mantras about public cleanliness for grandchildren.

USE YOUR KNUCKLES, BETTER YET YOUR SLEEVES OR PAPER TO OPEN, CLOSE AND PRESS IN PUBLIC PLACES

When you know you have to touch anything the general public uses, think lots of germs and how to avoid them.  Door handles, elevator buttons and the like are better opened with knuckles than fingers, if you have nothing else handy.  Better yet, wear long sleeves and use the sleeve.  Otherwise, take the paper towel you use to dry or some toilet paper out of an open stall to use in the bathroom for handles and such, or carry tissues in your travel bag or pocket to use.  Remember that all entrances and exits have germs.  We now have seen the garbage containers near bathroom exits, so this Grandma is not the only one concerned by public germs!  Keep sanitizer wipes and tissues handy.

PICK THE FIRST STALL IN A PUBLIC RESTROOM

Use the first stall in a public restroom. There are studies about this being the cleanest stall in most cases!  If you are interested in confirmation of this Grandma’s mantra, read, “This Is the Only Stall You Should Use in a Public Bathroom,” by Brooke Nelson, April 10, 2019 / Updated October 02, 2019.

PUBLIC RESTROOM RITUALS

Do not touch the door handle or anything in the restroom barehanded.

Be prepared to cover the toilet seat with a layer of toilet paper where you will sit, or squat and do not sit.  Do not sit on the bare toilet.  In some cases, where the previous occupant is totally unclean and inconsiderate and leaves the seat wet, take several pieces of toilet paper wadded up and wipe the seat. . . .in the first stall. . . and then layer.

When you are ready to flush, and, it is awful not to flush, take additional tissue to push all of your seat covering into the toilet.  It is just as awful not to clean up after yourself.  Take tissue to flush the toilet.  Do not touch the handle barehanded to flush.  Many people use the bottom of their shoes to flush the toilet.  Imagine how many germs are added by that practice!

Do not get lazy about rituals of cleaning your hands, but use your knuckles or tissue to press the soap and water handles.  Sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song while you scrub to get your hands clean.

Do not use the air blower to dry your hands.  You will blow germs onto your hands.  Yes, there is a scientific study on this. “Deposition of Bacteria and Bacterial Spores by Bathroom Hot-Air Hand Dryers,” by Luz del Carmen Huesca-Espitia, Jaber Aslanzadeh, Richard Feinn, Gabrielle Joseph, Thomas S. Murray, Peter Setlow, American Society of Microbiology  or read an article about the study. “Here’s The Gross Truth About Bathroom Hand Dryers,” by Carly Cassella, April 13, 2018, Science Alert.

Use towels or shake your hands several times to dry.  It is good to carry sanitizer wipes.  Use after.

This is work, but remember GERMS.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION GERMS

Planes, trains, buses, UBER, o my!  So public.  So many germs.  Carry lots of sanitizer wipes and tissues! Use your sleeves or tissue to open and close doors.  Use other tips above.

In the airplane, wipe everything with sanitizer wipes, and do not forget the handle to the overhead bin, seat belt, the tray, and the light switch and (new tip) air blower above your head.  If there is a TV, wipe the screen and the buttons.  Wear shoes or on a long flight, disposable socks (old socks you are ready to throw away are fine).  Since you should carry a jacket or sweater when you travel in your travel bag, use the sleeves freely instead of hands and fingers.  Do not put anything in the “convenient” seat pocket in front of you, so convenient it is full of germs from other passengers before you.  No, I am not the most compulsive.  Just read this article, “How to Disinfect Your Airplane Seat,” by Christine Sparks, July 15, 2019, Smarter Travel.   She left out the air blower concerns, but you can buy her recommended disposable airplane seat covers on Amazon.

HOTEL ROOM TIPS

Not only germs, but bugs!  Think about where to put your suitcase, but know not to put the suitcase on the bed, as there may be bedbugs even in the best hotels. Wipe everything, especially the TV remote control.  I just read an article that recommended taking the plastic bag from the ice bucket and wrapping it around the remote control.  I like this new easy tip.

Use the above tips and wipe doorknobs and handles, especially in the bathroom with sanitizing wipes.  Do not drink from the water glasses.  Take the disposable coffee cups for water.

I have read the hotel tips in various articles, but a good one with a checklist is “Hotel Room Cleanliness: How Clean is Your Hotel Room?” by Marianne Schwab, Best Travel Deals Tips Blog.

She suggests removing the bedspread (germ infested as not changed enough) and sanitize:
Telephone Handsets
Telephone Keypads
Television Remote Control
Cabinet Handles
Door Knobs
Hotel Pens
Light Switches (on the Wall and Lamps)
Bathroom Sink Faucets/Faucet Handles
Bathroom Toilet Handle
Toilet Seat
Bathtub

She suggests not walking barefoot as there are germs on the floors of hotel rooms that can cause disease.  Again, bring old socks you can dispose of.  I take old underwear on vacation and discard as I go along.  I have had hotel housekeepers take the underwear out of the trash can!  Then, I am comfortable that I have a good housekeeper.

Speaking of tips, tip the housekeeper daily, as they change, so that the housekeeper who cleaned your room actually gets the tip. Yes, tip the housekeeper.  Who is more important in your stay, if you care about cleanliness!

How many times did this Grandma mention sanitizer wipes?  The travel section of the local drugstore has travel size pouches of tissues and sanitizer wipes.  They are a better visit present than candy!  Put them in the grandchildren’s backpacks and travel bags.

Please share your Grandma cleanliness in public tips.  I love new ones to add to my mantras.  I have never asked if my grandchildren are bored by mine, but smile when our teenage granddaughter heads for the first stall in the restroom and smiles at me.

Joy,

Mema

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