QUIZ: Test Yourself! How Clean Are You?

Are you a clean freak or a dirty slob? Do you worry about germs, or are you in danger of picking up a gross disease due to poor hygiene? Most worrying of all, do you cause problems by overcleaning? Find out in this quiz!

How often do you floss your teeth?

  • When something's stuck in them
  • Twice a day, every day

Here's an interesting one to start. According to the US Department of Health, scientific studies haven't yet proven that flossing is actually good for your teeth. That doesn't mean you shouldn't floss if you've just eaten a plate of ribs, but if you do it too much, you could damage your gums.

How often do you wash your body?

  • Every day
  • Never

Wash yourself. Please. Just don't worry if you're not doing it every day— you might not need to, and overuse of washing products can damage your skin.

How long are your fingernails?

  • Long and strong
  • Short, they keep breaking

Short nails are more hygienic than long nails. That's because gross germs and dirt can get stuck under your nails and end up in your food, on your face, or anywhere else you might put your hands.

How much sleep do you get per night?

  • A solid eight (or more) hours
  • Maybe five hours? I dunno

Sleep is important to your body's general health. The more you sleep, the better your body can repel disease. If you're sick, you're obviously not very clean, since you're spraying germs everywhere!

How often do you change your dish washcloth?

  • Every month
  • When it's gross

Change your washcloths every month to avoid too much bacteria build-up. That said, if you, say, drop your cloth in the toilet or clean up something really nasty, you should definitely not keep using that cloth!

Do you take antibiotics when you have a cold?

  • Always
  • Never

Antibiotics don't help with a virus, so they're not for when you have a sniffle. In fact, it's dangerous to take antibiotics when you don't need them, as it encourages the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs that are immune to medicine.

How often do you deep clean your kitchen?

  • Once a week
  • Once a year

A clean kitchen will harbor fewer germs. Making sure that your kitchen surfaces are clean is an important step in avoiding food poisoning. Plus, it helps make sure your house doesn't stink.

Do you pick your nose and eat it?

  • I would never!
  • Maybe...

Social stigma notwithstanding, there's some evidence to suggest that, especially for kids, eating boogers can help them to develop a stronger immune system. This may be gross, but picking your nose and eating what you find might actually be good for you.

How often do you wear fresh underpants?

  • Every day
  • Every week

Eww. Fresh underwear is important for not smelling disgusting. Quite aside from anything else, this part of your body produces and holds a lot of sweat. If you're not changing your underpants daily, maybe start now.

How often do you wash your towels?

  • Twice a week
  • Twice a month

No matter how often you're washing your towels, you should probably do it more often. If you're showering every day, the Cleaning Institute recommends washing your towel twice a week, and letting it dry thoroughly before each use. A wet towel is one of the most enticing germ breeding grounds in your home.

What should mouthwash be used for?

  • Gargling after brushing teeth
  • Washing the floor

Listerine was originally invented as a floor cleaner before it was solved as a solution for bad breath. There's no medical benefit to using mouthwash, and halitosis is an invented condition designed to trick you into buying oral health products you don't need. This does mean, though, that if you ever want to really give your floor a good clean, mouthwash is the perfect cleaning product.

How do you use spray bottle cleaners?

  • Spray and instantly wipe clean
  • Spray, wander off, come back later, wipe

Spray cleaners take around a minute to work, so it should be left on a surface for at least thirty seconds before you wipe it away. This also means that a spray bottle and a paper towel is more effective than a wet wipe.

How often do you clean your air conditioner?

  • Monthly
  • You can clean an air conditioner?!
  • I'm not lucky enough to have an air conditioner

Air conditioners come with removable grills that collect dust and dirt from the air. If this builds up too much, the conditioner will stop working effectively, and will spray dust into the air, potentially triggering allergies. Not having an air conditioner is best for those with allergies, but if you do have one, make sure you clean it regularly.

How long do you spend washing your hands?

  • Five seconds
  • Ten seconds
  • Twenty seconds

You should wash your hands for at least twenty seconds to get them clean. Focus on scrubbing underneath your nails, as that's where you'll be holding onto the most germs.

Do you cover your mouth with your hands when you sneeze?

  • Of course!
  • Nope.

A bit of a trick question here: you should definitely cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, but you shouldn't use your hands. If you sneeze in your hands, you'll then have germs in your hands that you'll pass on to everything you touch. Instead, sneeze into your elbow.

Do you bite your fingernails?

  • Yes, to keep them short
  • No, I use clippers

Biting your nails is a fantastic way of getting all kinds of dirt and germs into your mouth. A better solution is to use clippers, but make sure you clean them regularly.

How often do you clean your child's bedroom?

  • Never, that's their job
  • Daily, I don't trust them

Fun fact: kids need germs. Studies have shown that growing up in a sterile environment increases the chance of a child developing asthma and eczema. Yes, you want your house to be clean, but it's okay to let a kid's room be a bit messy.

How often do you change your bedsheets?

  • Every week
  • Every month

You spend a lot of time in bed, and fluctuations in temperature when you're asleep means you sweat an awful lot while you're there. You probably need to change your bedsheets more often than you realize.

You drop food on the floor— do you still eat it?

  • Yup, Five Second Rule!
  • No!

So apparently there is some scientific evidence for the Five Second Rule. Bacteria don't arbitrarily wait to jump onto your food, but there's actually not much bacteria on the floor inside a building, as it's dry and unwelcoming. This is different if you're outside, of course, but indoors? Eating off the floor is relatively safe.

Do you close your toilet lid to flush?

  • Yes
  • No

Flushing the toilet causes a lot of spray, and micro-particles of poop and pee can go flying around your bathroom. Make sure you close the lid of your toilet to flush, and don't keep your toothbrush too close to the toilet.

How often do you wash your shirts?

  • After every wear
  • After a few wears

Shirts are worn close to your stinky, sweaty body, and as such, they need to be washed regularly. If you're wearing an undershirt you can get away with leaving it, but if a shirt has direct contact with your skin, it's absorbing a lot of sweat every time you wear it.

How often do you wash your pants?

  • After every wear
  • After a few wears

Here's the thing: most pants are made from different materials than shirts. While shirts need to be washed regularly, pants will often wear out quicker if washed regularly. Jeans in particular are made of thick denim which can handle being worn a few times, but shouldn't be washed too often.

Do you ever wash your scarves?

  • Yes
  • No

Scarves touch your body and travel around in the big wide world, so they will eventually get dirty. Most scarves aren't designed to be washed too often, so washing them a handful of times a year will probably be fine. Just be gentle about it.

How often do you disinfect your phone?

  • Daily
  • Disinfect my what?!

Phones pick up a lot of bacteria, out and about with you in the world, and being pressed against your face. Emily Toth Martin of the University of Michigan recommends disinfecting your phone at least once a day, possibly both morning and night— especially if you use your phone while eating.

How often do you wash your hair?

  • Daily
  • When I need to

There is no right frequency for washing your hair. Everyone's hair is different— some people feel like it needs to be washed daily, while others feel their hair gets dry if they wash it too often. Just wash your hair as often as you feel comfortable, however frequently that might be.
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