Don't use that there!!!
June 13, 2011 12:23 PM Subscribe
My boyfriend and I have very different views on what constitutes "clean". I'm not talking about differences when it comes to keeping one's room neat and organized. We're on the same page about that. I'm talking about re-using towels, sponges, dirty dish rags, and keeping counter tops SANITARY. Help me parse this one out.
posted by patronuscharms to health & fitness (50 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I come from a family that's very hygiene-oriented. We rarely get sick, and we put effort into keeping things that way. We clean counters with hot water and soap after we've cooked, especially if we've been using raw materials like egg (mostly to keep away pests, but also to prevent contamination); we never use sponges (or if we do, they don't cross-contaminate one surface to the other, like the dirty counters to a dirty dish); and, after suffering a bad bout with hardcore tinnia and athlete's foot, we now wash our bath towels every day, and foot rugs every two weeks or so.
My boyfriend is also very into being clean, but he thinks nothing of reusing the same damp sponge on different surfaces for up two months. He never wipes down a counter after he's placed raw meat there. His bath towels are reused until they reek of moisture damage. Worst of all, he re-uses the same filthy, wet dishtowel over, and over, and over to wipe down dishes instead of putting them in the dishwasher. Sure, some of this is a matter of preference -- I know not everyone operates in the same way my parents and I do. The rest of this, though, is a matter of common sense, and for all his brilliance and commitment to a clean house, I cannot fathom how to communicate to my boyfriend that I'm grossed out by this other stuff. I'm less worried about catching a cold or the flu -- I'm more concerned about the fungus, the athlete's foot, and the occasional food poisoning I keep getting whenever I visit him. He has all these things too but cannot see the correlation between his habits and his chronic infections. It's like he's never heard about how food poisoning works or how germs and viruses get transferred from one place to the next.
Am I fighting a losing battle? Right now I've taken to ferreting away unsanitary things in his house and replacing or cleaning them when he's away at work. I don't want to keep doing this anymore because it's passive aggressive and I know there's a better way. This matters to me because I live with him almost 75% of the month now and recently I just got over a very debilitating illness and I am desperate to stay healthy. I've already managed to get sick once after staying with him since getting over my illness. It's just a matter of healthy living for me.
Is there a gentle way to work with him on this without offending him too deeply?