Monthly Tips December 2009

To access hints for November 2009, when this feature first ran, please click on the links above

These handy tips are from family, friends & the media. Most of them have been tried and tested

I will also feature gadgets that I find really useful, that maybe useful to you.

Washing Hands

This may seem so obvious, but many people do not wash their hands often and well enough. Many illnesses are spread by bacteria we pass on from dirty hands. Dr. Oz has a useful list on his website about the proper way to wash hands. This includes:

  • Use soap & warm water, washing both sides of the hands for at least 30 seconds.
  • The fingernails and hairs on hands should also receive attention.
  • It is best to wipe hands on paper towels.
  • If you do not have water easily available use a hand sanitizer.

Use the crook of your arms in which to sneeze to prevent germs floating everywhere.

What to watch out for in Hotels

  • My family and I have always been wary about just how safe it is to use those attractive, plush hotel towels? Just how are they washed? Used towels are often dumped on the floors.
  • The thick towel mats that are used on bathroom floors to step onto when getting out of the shower are included in the wash with the rest of the towels. I have seen dirty laundry from rooms being all bundled together.
  • We observed one motel that was drying out their towels on fences around the yard. It seems hardly likely that they were washed before they were put out to dry.
  • What about washcloths that are there to be used in the shower? How many other people have used these very same cloths? Will washing it be enough to kill germs?
  • For a long time I have been carrying my own hand towel to wipe my face and hands. I do use hotel towels to dry myself after a shower, but do not wipe my face with the towels.

Hotel Hot Spots to Check Out When You Check In

Having such concerns myself, I wanted to check Dr. Oz's Hot Spots. He had a team that went to hotels, not just the small cheap hotels, to find out how clean and safe hotel rooms are. They used equipment that detect bacteria unable to be seen by the by the naked eye. As Dr. Oz always recommends sharing the information that he presents, I am reporting some of his teams findings. These include:

  • The bedspread It seems that the bedspread is rarely or never cleaned, so avoid just flopping right on the bed. It is suggested that one of the first things to do is to remove the bedspread and keep it well away from your belongings.
  • The sheets should be checked for hair, bed bugs or any evidence that the sheets had been used. If the sheets are not clean, ask for a new room (if the sheets are dirty the rest of the room probably is.) If you find evidence of bed bugs, get a refund on your reservation and find a new hotel. If one room has bed bugs, others will too.
  • The phone and remote control, 2 of the most handled items in hotel rooms are almost never cleaned and harbor all kinds of bacteria and viruses. Experts recommend using a Ziploc bag as a makeshift glove when handling the remote or using a chlorine antibacterial wipe and wiping down every button, crack, and crevice, spending extra time on the power button, which is touched the most.
  • The bathroom is not a safe place . Those inviting glasses near the sink almost never get a proper dish washing and are more likely wiped down with a towel from the room, leaving them loaded with bacteria. Do not use them them unless they supply plastic glasses sealed in plastic. Experts recommend traveling with your own collapsible cup.
  • The cloths are are used to mop the floor and the toilet are most likely used to clean the sinks as well. For those who like filling up the basin and use that water to shave or wash your face, think again.
  • The carpet A quick vacuum does nothing but pick up dust and move bugs and fungus around. So, bring slippers or flip-flops to protect your feet.

Rubber Bands

I recently learned of this hint by a lady who had several ways that she uses rubber bands. These are bands that come off of produce or the newspaper that is delivered to her home. My favorite is the tip of using the rubber band as a bookmark. The bookmark does not slip off, the page is clean and always in place.

Ants on a Log

This hint was featured in via, AAA Traveler's Companion and submitted by Sydney Nance of Fair Oaks, California. Sydney suggested applying peanut butter on celery sticks and adding raisins on top. It was called Ants on a Log . I tried it & I was delighted with this tip.

 Just out of the oven, Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Fresh Celery Sticks, coated with peanut butter & topped with raisins.

I use freshly ground unsweetened peanut butter. It does have it's own natural sweetness. The celery sticks are fresh, Just wash, slice them and apply peanut butter. I ate both these sticks that you see in the image. They were delicious. The raisins add sweetness too. I am sure children will enjoy doing this by themselves (with adult supervision, of course.) The advantage is that children will have fun eating a very healthful snack.

Celery contains vitamin C, has fiber and no cholesterol.

If you have any interesting tips to share please email them to
email address
You may also reach me via my Contact information.

Now quickly and easily navigate to your next destination.