This seems like a no-brainer – you get your hands wet, soap up, rub them together, and wash them off, right? Not so fast, as it’s estimated that only 5% of Americans wash their hands correctly.
How do we mess it up? Common sense says that the more soap lather you use, the better, but the opposite is actually the case. Soaps produce chemicals call surfactants, which reduce surface tension on water and carry dirt and oils and crud away. They also create aerated bubbles – so lather should come from washing your hands sufficiently – not lathering up and then washing them.
Furthermore, antibacterial soaps probably aren’t the best to use. They emit a chemical called triclosan, which can cause antibiotic resistance and hormone alteration, and research now shows that antibacterial soaps don’t help you from getting sick or get cleaner.
2. Shaving at the wrong time and the wrong way.
Shave is extremely irritating to the skin, so shave at night, not in the morning if possible so your skin has time to recover. Preparation is key, with the right combination of hot water, steam, and products or creams. Use a brush to get the hairs to stand up. Also, it’s a complete fallacy that your hair grows back thicker when you shave.
You know that wood-handled plunger that you’ve been using in the bathroom toilet (and probably making a mess?) Those are actually intended for use in unclogging the kitchen sink. The toilet plunger specifically has an extra piece of rubber on the bottom to form a vacuum seal between the toilet bowl and the plunger. Buy two different plungers – but be sure to label them!
4. Brushing your teeth too soon after eating.
Many of us run to the bathroom to brush our teeth as quickly as possible after eating or drinking something sweet or acidic. But if you brush directly after ingesting something acidic, the brushing can push the acid deeper into your enamel, not remove it! So wait 30 minutes until you brush, and use a fluoride rinse if you want to do a quick clean instead.
Instead of cracking eggs right into the pan and watching them spread out all over the place, cut a ring from the middle of an onion and place it in the pan, first. Then, crack the egg right in the center – it will keep the egg perfectly round (and add a little flavor!) You can also take a piece of bread and cut a hole in the center with the open end of a drinking glass and put that in the pan with the egg in the middle. Toast included!
6. Shampooing your hair too often.
Even if you take a shower or two a day, you shouldn’t shampoo more than a few times a week. Excessive cleaning of the hair will strip away essential oils in your hair called sebum, and actually make it appear greasier.
By the way, stop taking such excessively long, hot showers as well – they dry your skin and remove good bacteria.
Homemade bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches are probably the best thing on the planet – but the downside is a big mess. It’s also hard to cook the bacon evenly enough, and it slides or falls out of the sandwich too easily. So take 4 or 6 pieces of bacon and weave them into a grid, like a tick-tack-toe board, and then place them in the pan. Perfectly cooked bacon that’s easy to grab and put in your sandwich – and won’t fall out!
8. Chilling a bottle or can quickly.
There’s nothing worse than wanting to drink an icy beverage but it’s still just lukewarm. Ok, there are worse things, but we have an easy fix for this. Up until now, you’ve been placing the can or bottle in the freezer and waiting and waiting…But place a wet paper towel or napkin around the outside of it before putting it in the freezer – it will turn super cold within 15 minutes.
9. Drinking a can of soda with a straw.
Instead of dropping the straw in the opening and have to fish around for it, put it through the opening of the soda can’s tab for perfect placement!
10. Preventing blisters when you work out.
Too often, we stack on extra pairs of socks or put Band-Aids on our feet when going on a big hike or run, trying to prevent blisters. But the best way to do this is actually to spray or roll on deodorant on your feet. Blisters are caused by friction and perspiration increased friction greatly, making you more prone to blisters – not less. By the way, the army uses this trick to great success.
11. Eating out of Chinese food containers.
Chinese food taken To Go is so yummy, sometimes we can’t help but open up the top of the container and start eating right when we get home – or even in the car. But those containers were meant to open up and fold out so you can use them as a plate.
12. Finding a stud in the wall.
I love this one! In the past, when I’ve looked for a wooden stud behind my wall to hang a photo or a mirror or something, I’ve resorted to knocking around and trying to hear the sound difference (never works for me,) randomly making holes in the wall (big mess,) or trying to use a electronic stud finder (not smart enough to use it right.) But all I had to do was tie a refrigerator magnet to a string, hold it against the wall, and swing the magnet. The magnet will move toward the nails or crews used to hold the drywall into the screw, and voila! No mess and no fuss you just found your stud!
I know you want to put on the rubber kitchen gloves and take chemical sprays and a sponge and paper towels to the inside of your microwave to clean it, but there’s a better way. Mix a half-cup of water with half a cup of distilled vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Put it in there and zap it for a few minutes. The water will come to a boil and the steam will cover every surface. Once it cools down, open up the door and wipe it down once – everything will be loose and easily cleaned. You can also add a few orange, lemon, or lime slices to make it smell better.
14. Opening plastic packaging.
These days, just about everything we buy comes sealed in plastic packaging. It’s so tough to get this off, especially trying to rip it with bare hands, that it inspired a hilarious Seinfeld episode! Originally designed to thwart shoplifters, this plastic packaging – known as clamshell – actually causes more than 6,000 injuries every year to people trying to remove it! So instead of trying to open it with a knife, scissors, or your bare hands, just take out the can opener and go along the outside edge – easy and safe!
15. Perfectly peel a boiled egg.
Instead of hacking away at the shell of a hardboiled egg until it’s unrecognizable, add one teaspoon of baking soda to the water you boil it in, and the shell will practically fall off in one piece as you start peeling it.
An old wives tale is that people look up and to the right when they’re lying, but that’s not true – different people access information from different parts of their brain and look in that direction, accordingly. Instead, pay attention to their word count. Rarely will someone lying give a one word or short answer – their inclination will be to talk too much. Called the “Pinocchio Effect,” their word count will grow and their sentences more complex when they lie. Interestingly, they also swear more and use fewer “I” statements, caused by cognitive overload.
17. Relaxing after dinner.
I don’t know about you, but when I eat a good dinner all I want to do is relax on the couch, watch TV, or even chug some coffee if I have something to do. But studies show the healthiest thing you can do after any big meal is to take a walk – it helps digestion and neutralizes the blood sugar surge, reducing the risk of cardio vascular disease and weight gain
18. Putting your laptop in your lap.
Maybe they should have named laptops, “tabletops,” or something similar, because putting your computer in your lap, or on a couch, bed, etc. can do serious damage to it. Laptops cool off with proper ventilation, and when you place it on a soft or flexible surface, you inhibit that ventilation. It can heat up quickly and cause long-term damage to the machine as if you left it in the sun.
19. Breaking in a new pair of shoes.
We all love new shoes – we just hate the first few days wearing them, as they’re uncomfortable like medieval torture devices. So to break them in, put on a pair of thick socks and put them on at home. Then, run the hair dryer over the, heating up the spots that are uncomfortable or hurt, wiggling your toes and moving your feet around at all times. They’ll stretch out and soften in no time!
20. Lifting lighter weights to lose pounds.
The common mistake is to start lifting lighter weight but doing more repetitions when we want to get “cut” or lean. But heavier weights shock your muscles more and burn far more calories, which is what truly causes weight loss.
21. Low-intensity cycling, running, or other exercise to lose weight.
Likewise, we often think that long boughts of cardio are the only way to burn fat and lose weight, but this just isn’t true. Your body quickly acclimates to workouts that are the same base, low-grade intensity like an easy jog or slow cycle. But your metabolism won’t super charge and burn more calories like with higher intensity interval training, even for shorter durations.
22. Not splitting your direct deposit.
Everyone knows they should save once you get your paycheck, but it's too easy to make excuses not to, especially when our paycheck comes via direct deposit right into our bank account. But most people don't know they you can split your direct deposit, automatically allocating a portion of it to a savings account.
23. Looking at a computer or phone screen before going to sleep.
It’s estimated that about two thirds of Americans don’t get enough sleep or have problems with insomnia or other sleep disorders, and one of the main contributors to that is blue screens, or artificial light from computers. In fact, exposure to artificial light before going to bed increases alertness and suppresses the release of melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone. Basically, the blue light in the spectrum released from any artificial light acts as an alarm clock to our brains, and computers and phones have the most blue light (surprisingly, the light from television isn’t as bad for you as you think.)
Also, the bulbs from reading lamps emit the same blue light, which may deter sleep. So put away your electronics an hour or two before bed but also replace your reading light with a specialty red light bulb, which is easier on your eyes and brain than harsh blue light.
25. Leaving your smart phone plugged in all night.
Most smart phones run on lithium-ion batteries, which don’t need to be 100% (or anywhere near) for full function. But when we leave our phones plugged in all night they will actually over charge, causing the battery to lose effectiveness, faster. It could also be damaging to the screen and the software to have your phone on 24-7, so turn it off at night and possibly even let the battery go to 0% and shut off before recharging once a month or so to recalibrate it.