It can be fun and exciting to browse aisles both in person and online, but it’s time to get serious about what you bought once you get home. Although items are stocked neatly on shelves or arrive on our doorstep in tidy bags and boxes, they may not be clean. It’s difficult to know who has touched the items as well as what may be on them. This is not to say that you cannot enjoy your purchases; we just need to be safe about it.
In Person Purchases
When you go to the store, you need to do more than use the antiseptic wipe on the shopping cart handle. Instead of touching and inspecting all of the apples, commit to what you are buying before you pick them up to prevent the spread of germs. Once you’re checking out, it can be helpful to carry your own pen or stylus. This prevents you from having to touch something that many have touched before you.
Once you bring our items home, it can be helpful to practice a “sterile technique” This involves sanitizing your workspace with standard disinfectant and preparing a cleaning wipe or saturated disinfectant paper towel. The wipe or towel will serve as your cleaning tool. You do not need to use a new wipe for every item you clean; don’t waste them or your money! Next, separate the table for a clean side to a dirty side where you will put your purchases from outside the house. When cleaning, be sure to wipe down all containers and other items stored in plastic, aluminum, or glass. Try to also get rid of unnecessary/external packaging. While the packaging has been touched recently, the inside contents such as a sealed bag of food packed inside a cardboard box is considered clean. If an item doesn’t have external packaging, you could also use clean containers to dump items inside without touching those items. Lastly, when disinfecting be sure to wipe off the areas where you think humans have been touching more liberally than areas where they might not. Think of where the person would place their hands to pick up and grab an item.
It is just as important to clean your online purchases too! Follow the same procedure as above if you’ve ordered groceries or household items. If you ordered clothing, it can be helpful to dump the clothing items out of the bag, so you don’t have potentially dirty bags of sealed clothing all over the house. The key is to remember that you don’t know who or where the items have been, so exercise precaution.
Budget for Sanitizing and Cleaning
A critical part to saving and making the most of your money is to budget. This means that it’s important to budget for the items that will help make sure you’re safe from germs. Disinfectant wipes can be expensive, but the good news is that you can make your own! It’s much cheaper and incredibly easy. Lastly, when budgeting don’t forget that your time is also important to consider. Make sure you make time for the cleaning steps to keep yourself safe!