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A Microbiologist Mom's 24-Hour Battle With Bacteria

When you know a lot about bacteria, you look at the world in a different way. So, knowing what they know, how does a microbiologist calmly go through their day?

As a mom and a professor of microbiology and infectious disease, Meghan May spends a lot of time thinking about bacteria. Like 24-hours a day a lot. We had a chance to talk to her about her typical day…and it is WAY different than ours.

"Virtually nothing in the everyday world is sterile. Bacteria are everywhere!" —Meghan May

Bacteria may seem scary sometimes. Luckily, Microban 24 protects your surfaces from bacteria for 24 hours and gives you peace of mind to go about your day, without thinking about bacteria.

But first, what does a microbiologist do?

MM: There are many different kinds of microbiologists. There are microbiologists like me, who study the small minority of microbes (germs) that can make humans and animals sick. We call them pathogens, or infectious agents. The goal behind studying pathogens is ultimately to find ways to detect them, treat them, or prevent them.

How does your morning differ from most people's?

MM: Starting with our wake-up routine, I make sure everyone’s toothbrushes are washed after use, and everyone’s contact lens cases are cleaned!

Tell us about your cleaning routine...

MM: We do deep cleaning of floors weekly and deep cleaning of kitchen/cooking surfaces after each use. Once it becomes part of the routine, it’s not particularly onerous at all!

We do like to reuse towels a few times to conserve water, and find that if they are hung up promptly, they dry completely with minimal microbial growth. Bedsheets are a weekly swap. I replace sponges weekly, and throughout the week I usually pour boiling water over them in the sink (convenient water, mind you — I will pour the water that was used to steam broccoli or boil pasta. It’s a small change to get an additional use out of water that I was going to pour out anyway).

What everyday items are surprisingly dirty?

MM: Anything that is a high-touch surface, especially if it is porous (such as plastic or silicon) and NOT frequently wiped down or washed, is likely to have a lot of microbes.

Luckily, Microban 24 is what my family uses for hard, nonporous surfaces (door handles, the toilet handle, etc.). I spray, walk away, and rest easy knowing that surface is protected from bacteria for a full 24 hours.

Do you sanitize your children's toys, cribs/beds, diaper pail, etc.?

My kids are a bit out of that age range, but I used to wipe down surfaces they would touch. I would boil their pacifiers every couple of days and put hard plastic toys through the dishwasher as needed. One other thing that I felt strongly about was bringing their own toys to the pediatrician’s office.

And what foods do you eat?

MM: Being a microbiologist creates an instinct for thinking about what may be alive within something I’m about to eat. That isn’t always a bad thing, though. For example, eating yogurt for its bacterial content is a great thing to do. That said, I could never eat a raw oyster — I know WAY too much about what can be in there!

How about eating on the go?

MM: If I bring a travel mug or lunch in reusable containers, I ALWAYS wash them with soap and water immediately after use before I even arrive home. Food for you is also food for bacteria!

Speaking of being on the go, what about when you gotta drive somewhere?

MM: I keep two things in my car: disinfectant spray and hand sanitizer. Any stop that I make is always followed by hand sanitizer before I touch my steering wheel or gear shift. I then spray disinfectant on my inside door handle!

Your kids must go with you to public places. Do you teach your kids good habits...or is that a lost cause?!

MM: I try! I was the mom who was always fussing about NOT grabbing handrails or the door handle to a public restroom, but with varying degrees of success. I can say, I think some of it stuck on some level, because they adapted to “pandemic etiquette” very easily.

OMG, now we're scared.

MM: It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole thinking about microbes. But small, common-sense interventions will do the trick!

Microban 24 provides a bacteria shield on your surfaces for 24 hours, including many of those spots that you touch the most throughout the day.

Bacteria can live on surfaces anywhere from several hours up to several days! Microban 24 provides continuous surface protection, killing 99.9% of bacteria for 24 hours, when used as directed.