Bacteria can be found everywhere, from kitchen counters to bathrooms and in public places like malls and playgrounds. Bacteria can divide rapidly and quickly become numerous, which can be dangerous if the bacteria are disease-causing. Keeping surfaces bacteria-free is sometimes difficult, but there are a few things you can do to keep the bacteria you encounter from making you ill.

Keep things dry. Bacteria need moisture to thrive, and most bacteria will quickly multiply in wet or moist conditions. In completely dry environments, some species of bacteria can form spores, which are resistant to desiccation. As a general rule, however, keeping things like drains, clothing and carpeting dry will prevent bacterial growth.

Use a sanitizer on your hands. Hand sanitizers that have more than 60 percent alcohol kill most bacteria on contact. Using sanitizers regularly will kill the bacteria on your hands that you may come across in public places, where you have little control over how clean the surfaces are.

Heat food thoroughly and store properly. To avoid bacterial growth in food, make sure it is heated adequately before consuming--to at least 140 degrees F. Some meats, however, require higher temperatures to effectively kill bacteria. For instance, chicken should be heated to 180 F before consuming to ensure that bacteria such as salmonella are killed. When warm food cools, refrigerate it to curb the growth of bacteria.

Clean surfaces well. Many times, soap and hot water is all that is needed to adequately clean surfaces. Cleaning all the surfaces in the kitchen that come into contact with uncooked meat is important. Countertops, cutting boards and utensils should all be immediately washed with hot, soapy water, or else wiped down with disinfecting wipes to avoid contaminating other surfaces (like doorknobs). Washing items like eye-makeup applicators can help prevent the growth of bacteria that could infect your eyes.

Use antibiotics. Antibiotics can be taken orally to prevent the growth of disease-causing bacteria within the body. (They can also kill beneficial bacteria in the digestive system which can lead to diarrhea.) Topical antibiotics are often found in ointments that are applied to cuts and scrapes, and prevent the growth of bacteria--and, therefore, infection in the wound.


You do not necessarily need an antibacterial soap. The mechanical action of your hands rubbing together should be enough to clean them adequately. The ingredient used to make soaps antibacterial has been found to be bad for the environment.