42 everyday mistakes you're making that should scare the hell out of you

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ByCristina Sanza

From daily hygiene to leftover food storage, it makes me shudder to think about how many everyday habits I used to get wrong without realizing it. Case in point: Never ever cleaning my cell phone after carrying it around and resting it on random surfaces all day. But since getting a UV phone sanitizer, it’s been so easy to clean my filthy smartphone in a few minutes while barely doing any work — I just place the phone inside and let the sanitizer do its job. Similarly, this list is chock full of everyday mistakes you’re making that should scare the hell out of you, along with products that’ll help you fix things.

Since kitchen mistakes are pretty common, you’ll find a few items below to help you there. For example, do you cut raw meat and vegetables on the same cutting board? This can lead to cross-contamination of bacteria, so you might want to use a dual-sided cutting board that helps you keep food separated during prep. And did you know rice can grow bacteria when it’s left at room temperature? To avoid leftovers, you might want a rice cooker that helps you make a perfect portion and keeps it warm until it’s ready to serve.

Below, you’ll also find things that will upgrade your skin care and oral hygiene routines, increase privacy, make your home cleaner, and more. Keep reading to find out which of these scary everyday mistakes are lurking in your life.

01

A brush set for scrubbing inside water bottles

Rather than trying (and failing) to fully clean your water bottle with a sponge, you can use this bottle cleaning brush set to wash the hard-to-reach places. The kit includes five easy-to-grip brushes in various sizes and shapes that are perfect for scrubbing inside sports bottles, travel mugs, the tea kettle, and more.

02

A stainless steel caddy that'll help the kitchen sponge dry faster

Studies show that kitchen sponges can harbor bacteria, so you may want to use this stainless steel basket to promote airflow and help wet sponges dry faster. The rust-resistant caddy has sturdy suction cups that will easily adhere to your sink, providing a breathable place for your sponge to rest after each use.

03

A dish brush you can clean in the dishwasher

Don't feel like disinfecting your dish sponge? You can use this dish brush instead. It's safe to use on nonstick cookware and has durable nylon bristles and a scraper to remove stuck-on food. The nonslip handle is easy to grip when wet, and best of all, you can pop this brush in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.

04

This dual-sided cutting board that helps avoid cross-contamination

Cutting raw meat and then slicing veggies on the same surface can lead to cross-contamination of bacteria — but you can avoid that with this helpful dual-sided cutting board. One side is made from bamboo to cut fruits and veggies, while the other is a poly material for cutting meats. The easy-to-clean cutting board also has food symbols on each side to help you remember which one to use.

05

A contact solution that cleans & disinfects your lenses

It's important to use fresh solution every time you clean and store your contact lenses, and this Biotrue multipurpose solution has a near-perfect 4.8-star rating from reviewers. The solution conditions your lenses to make them more comfortable for all-day wear and it kills 99.99% of germs at the same time. Use it to clean and soak your lenses every day.

06

This frosted window film that instantly creates more privacy

Not only does this window film create more privacy in any room, but it also provides UV protection and insulation that can help regulate the temperature in your home. The frosted film uses static cling to adhere to the window, so there's no glue residue left behind if you decide to remove it later on. The film comes in 11 sizes and is easy to trim down after application.

07

These gentle wipes that clean dirty lenses & screens

When's the last time you cleaned your laptop screen, or even your eyeglasses for that matter? With these lens and screen wipes, it's easy to clean those delicate surfaces without leaving streaks behind. The soft wipes come individually wrapped, so you can tote a few in your bag at all times, and they're safe to use on all glass surfaces and coated lenses.

08

This slider that covers your webcam when it's not in use

Create more privacy with this webcam cover, which slides over your device's camera when it's not in use. The minimalist cover blends in with your laptop, phone, or tablet, and it's easy to attach in seconds. Each order includes two covers and you can choose from black, blue, and white.

09

A toothbrush case that sanitizes with UV light

Your toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months, but you can help it stay clean with this toothbrush sanitizer. The case uses UV light to kill up to 99.9% of germs and bacteria on your brush. It fits most toothbrushes and electric heads and it's portable, so you can use it at home and while traveling.

10

This fitness tracker that reminds you to get up and move

If you don't have an activity tracker, it's easy to forget to get up and move every hour — especially if you're focused on work all day. This affordable fitness tracker has a sedentary reminder to help you move more during the day, and it also tracks your heart rate, sleep, and exercise. The waterproof fitness tracker comes in four colors: black, blue, gray, and pink.

11

This portable air purifier that reduces dust, pollen, odors & more

This mini portable air purifier is a must-have, whether you're at home or on the road. For example, if seasonal allergies have got you sneezing or your car is filled with irritating odors, just tote this purifier along to reduce dust, pollen, smoke, pet dander, and other airborne irritants. The rechargeable purifier offers three fan speeds, works up to 12 hours at a time, and weighs under 1 pound for easy portability.

12

This toilet brush holder that collects the drippy water

With most toilet brush holders, the bristles sit in drippy water between uses. But this toilet brush and holder set has a removable storage drawer that collects the dirty water, allowing you to dump it out and keep the brush dry. The holder can rest on the floor or be mounted on the wall. Plus, the brush handle has a set of hidden tweezers for cleaning hair out of drains.

13

This lockbox that keeps spare keys secure

Rather than hiding a spare key somewhere outside, you can keep it secure with this key lockbox. The durable, rust-resistant box has a four-digit combination lock that allows you to set a personalized passcode and it has enough room for up to five keys. The lockbox is also easy to install and comes with all the necessary mounting hardware.

14

A toilet paper holder that stores 2 rolls at a time

Forgetting to refill the toilet paper is a pretty common household mistake that's easier to avoid with this double roll toilet paper holder. The wall-mounted holder has room for two rolls so you always have a backup ready, and there's a built-in storage shelf for other essentials. Installation hardware is included.

15

This portable lock that makes doors more secure

Bring this portable door lock on your next trip for extra security while traveling or use it at home for additional peace of mind. The portable lock fits most doors and can be placed in seconds without any tools required. "This is a simple and easy way to add security to any home or room. I use this at night to lock my front door and it’s just as strong as my dead bolt," one reviewer wrote.

16

The highly rated tracker that'll help you find your keys

Need help keeping track of your keys or bag? Attach the highly rated Tile Pro tracker to your valuable item and use the Tile app to monitor it using your phone. The app can make the tracker ring when it's within 400 feet, and when your item is out of Bluetooth range, the app can tell you its last known location. Also great: You can use the tracker to find your phone, even if it's on silent.

17

A quick-drying Turkish towel that'll prevent mildew & odors

You should let your bath towel dry completely between uses and wash it often, but unless you're using a quick-drying towel, it'll lose its freshness pretty fast. To prevent mildew and odors, you can switch to this lightweight Turkish towel made from 100% cotton. It's absorbent, dries quickly, and comes in an array of colors.

18

An absorbent coaster set that protects your furniture

Not using a coaster is a surefire way to damage wooden furniture, but this faux marble coaster set is ready to help. Sold in a set of six, the coasters absorb condensation quickly and have cork backing to prevent scratches on your tabletops. The set comes with a sturdy iron holder to keep the coasters tidy when not in use.

19

A set of LED candles that are safe & easy to use

Thanks to this LED candle set, there's no need to deal with flames or smoke in your home every time you want a little ambiance. The set includes three flameless candles in various sizes, and you can easily control them with the included remote. Plus, you can choose from a steady glow or a flickering flame effect and adjust the brightness to your desired level.

20

This hair styling spray that'll help you ditch the blow dryer

Blow drying your hair too often is an easy way to cause heat damage — which I know from experience after over-styling left me with brittle, dry strands. Instead of reaching for the blow dryer, spritz this leave-in conditioning spray on your damp hair and let it air dry. The lightweight spray will boost shine, reduce frizz, and speed up drying time.

21

A document bag that protects against fire & water damage

Your passport and other important documents deserve extra protection, and you can keep them secure in this fireproof document bag. The large, durable bag is made from silicone fiberglass that's resistant to high temperatures and water, helping to keep your valuable items intact during emergencies.

22

This water sensor that alerts you when there's a leak in your home

With this water sensor, you'll know right away if there's a water leak in your home. The system connects to your Wi-Fi network and sends alerts to your phone when a water leak is detected, giving you peace of mind when you're away from home. Each kit comes with a waterproof sensor and a Wi-Fi gateway device that connects to your home network.

23

A waterproof mattress protector that guards against dust mites, fluids & more

If you're not safeguarding your mattress against dust mites, sweat, allergens, and more, you can start by adding this waterproof mattress protector to your bed. It has a soft, hypoallergenic cotton surface and a waterproof back coating that'll help keep your bed clean without changing the feel of your mattress. When it's time to do laundry, just toss this mattress protector in the wash with your sheets.

  • Available sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king

24

A durable door mat that traps dirt & moisture

Instead of tracking dirt and mud into your house, place this rubber door mat by the entrance to give your shoes a quick cleaning when you get home. The heavy-duty mat is designed to grab dirt in its grooves, while the rubber border helps trap moisture. The low-profile mat is easy to clean as needed and comes in over 20 colors and four sizes.

25

This spoon & fork set for removing food from jars without using your fingers

Rather than using your fingers to dig into food jars, use this spoon and fork set for a more hygienic way to remove ingredients. The slotted spoon is perfect for scooping capers and other foods that need to be drained, while the stainless steel fork is great for grabbing pickles, olives, and more. The utensils clip together for compact storage and they're dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

26

These comfortable slippers you can wear around the house

If you think about all the dirt that's on the bottom of your street shoes, you'll probably want to avoid wearing them around the house. That's where these lightweight slippers come in — just keep them by the front door so you can swap into clean, comfortable shoes as soon as you get home. The soft, flexible EVA slippers are water-resistant with nonslip soles and come in 11 colors.

  • Available sizes: 4.5 — 12 women, 2 — 11 men

27

A rechargeable UV phone sanitizer that kills germs & bacteria

You probably know you should clean your phone, but actually doing it is another story. Thanks to this rechargeable UV phone sanitizer, removing 99.9% of germs and bacteria from your cell and other small items is quick and easy. Just place your phone inside and the sanitizer will use UV-C light to clean both sides in one minute.

28

This steam cleaner that sanitizes without harsh chemicals

Skip the harsh cleaning products and use this handheld steam cleaner to sanitize hard surfaces around the house. The cleaner comes with seven tools, including scrubbing brushes and a scraper, and releases high-pressure steam that removes dirt, bacteria, and more. You can use it on sealed hard wood, ceramic, laminate, and other surfaces — just fill it with water and let it heat up for 30 seconds.

29

These exfoliating washcloths that are machine washable

Do you regularly clean your shower loofah to stop the growth of bacteria? Most people probably don't, so it's worth switching to these exfoliating washcloths that are machine washable. Sold in a set of five, the quick-drying cloths are great for full-body exfoliation and have built-in loops so you can hang them up after each use.

30

An airtight container set that'll keep pantry items fresh

Flour and other pantry items can last longer if they're stored in airtight containers — and this will also help avoid bug infestations. This set includes six BPA-free containers in 3.3-quart and 1.5-quart sizes that are great for storing pasta, cereal, rice, coffee, and other dry goods. Plus, 24 reusable labels are included so you can easily identify what's in each container.

31

An oil-free sunscreen with SPF 60 protection

Wearing sunscreen every day is a simple way to protect your skin, but it's also a skin care step that's easy to skip if you don't have a trusted sunscreen on hand. This dry-touch sunscreen from La Roche-Posay has a 4.5-star rating after more than 7,000 reviewers weighed in, and it offers broad-spectrum SPF 60 sun protection. The nongreasy sunscreen absorbs oil to prevent clogged pores and it's safe for sensitive skin.

32

A gentle kit that removes excess ear wax

Using an earwax removal kit can be gentler than using a cotton swab to remove excess wax, and this one is backed by over 7,000 five-star reviews. Just place a few drops of the microfoaming cleanser into your ear to soften wax, then flush your ear with water using the included bulb syringe.

33

The motivational water bottle that’ll help you stay hydrated

If you need a little motivation to stay hydrated during the day, this water bottle with time markers is a must-have. The 32-ounce, BPA-free bottle has time and measurement markings on the side, along with motivational messages to keep you going. There are six colors and styles to choose from, and the bottle comes with a cleaning brush so washing it is a breeze.

34

A lumbar support pillow that can help improve posture

Slouching all day can lead to a sore and achy back, but you can upgrade your office chair or car seat with this lumbar support pillow. The breathable memory foam pillow has adjustable straps that hold it in place, and you can position it two ways for upper or lower back support. Plus, the cover is removable and machine washable.

35

A rice cooker that helps you avoid leftovers

Unless you’re properly storing leftover rice, it’s best to eat it as soon as it’s cooked — and this rice cooker can help you make the perfect portion. The cooker makes up to 6 cups of rice at a time and automatically keeps it warm until the food is ready to serve. When you’re done, the nonstick pot is removable and dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Bonus: A measuring cup and spoon are included.

36

This hand sanitizer that smells like soothing lavender

You probably touch a number of grimy things every day without really thinking about it (hello, subway poles), so it’s helpful to bring a bottle of hand sanitizer when you leave the house. This travel-sized hand sanitizer is made with alcohol and lavender essential oil, so you also get a soothing scent with each spritz. Each order contains six bottles.

37

These food storage containers that resist stains & odors

Unlike some plastic containers, these glass food storage containers are odor- and stain-resistant so your leftovers won’t linger inside. The containers are leakproof and airtight, and the microwave-safe lids are vented to prevent splatter when reheating food. Plus, the glass bases are oven-safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The containers are dishwasher- and freezer-safe, too.

38

A water flosser with 4 cleaning modes

If you find yourself skipping the dental floss every day, this cordless water flosser can make it easier to improve your dental hygiene routine. The rechargeable flosser removes plaque and debris with four water pressure modes, including one for sensitive gums, and it comes with four jet tips. You can use it for up to 21 days on one charge.

39

This thermometer that’ll help you avoid undercooked meat

With this digital meat thermometer, it only takes three seconds to know that your food is cooked to the right temperature. The waterproof thermometer has an easy-to-read LCD screen and a temperature chart you can reference while cooking. Storage is easy, too — just hang it up or stick it to your fridge.

40

A timer that helps with good hygiene habits

Are you brushing your teeth and washing your hands for the recommended time? With this washing and brushing timer, you’ll know for sure. The battery-operated, wall-mounted device has red and green LED indicator lights to guide you for two minutes of brushing and 20 seconds of washing.

41

An affordable duvet cover that’s easier to wash than your comforter

When’s the last time you washed your duvet? If you wait a while between washings, you may want to protect it with this easy-to-clean duvet cover. Available in 17 colors, the soft microfiber cover has corner ties that securely attach to your duvet. Once the duvet is inserted, zip the bottom of the cover and you’re done.

  • Available sizes: twin, full, queen, king, California king