The Importance Of Cleanliness And The Impact Of A Dirty Living Area On Its Immediate Surrounding
In some quarters, it is said that cleanliness is next to godliness and most people view it as an issue of personal concern. What however cannot be overemphasized is the importance of cleanliness. From the moment a baby is born and as it grows up, those responsible for its care in most cases demonstrate high levels of hygiene not only to avert diseases associated with dirt but to instill a mentality of cleanliness in the growing baby. It is also important to note that cleanliness is regarded highly not only by the human species but it is also practiced widely in the animal kingdom. Some of the animals known to maintain high levels of hygiene not only for themselves but for their offspring as well include members of the cat family like leopards, lions, cheetahs as well as domesticated cats.Cleanliness can be used as a way of achieving something else i.e. in the case of human beings, it may be important to pay attention to cleanliness so as to avoid providing abode to contaminants associated with dirt. In the case of items such as windows, cleanliness may be maintained as a way of maintaining visibility by enhancing transparency. In this text, I will look at the importance of cleanliness and the impact that a dirty living area may have on its immediate surroundings.
The definition of Cleanliness
According to Smith (2002), cleanliness is a situation where dirt is not present. In the broader and most understood sense, dirt is anything that is not in most cases useful and can cause staining of clothes, soiling of hands, germs or other un-pleasantries. In this sense, some of the things considered as dirt or can cause dirt include garbage, soil, substances that can cause staining etc. However, in a more modern sense, cleanliness has been regarded as a situation where germs and other materials that can in one way or the other be considered hazardous are not present.
The importance of cleanliness
The importance of cleanliness both to an individual and those around him cannot be overemphasized. Cleanliness has so many inherent long term benefits that most people do not know of. Below I discuss the various reasons why cleanliness is held in high regard.
Cleanliness reduces the risk of diseases and infections
Most of the diseases a human being grapples with in his day to day life are avoidable and can easily be kept in check by observing basic hygiene measures. Diseases such as typhoid are linked to the consumption of dirty water. A wide range of skin infections can also be attributed to failure to follow basic sanitary procedures. It has also been discovered that diseases such as gingivitis which causes the inflammation of the human teeth gums is caused by poor mouth hygiene which includes failure to brush teeth. It therefore goes without saying that the only way to ensure that our lives are rid of germs and other disease causing organisms is to enhance high levels of cleanliness both at home and in our places of work.
Cleanliness reduces chances of attracting pests and rodents
The presence of pests and rodents associated with dirt in our homes can not only be embarrassing but also costly health-wise in the long run. It is a highly embarrassing situation to have a big cockroach run across the dining table in the presence of guests. This will tell guests that you don’t maintain basic hygiene measures in your house and in addition to messing everyone’s appetite spoil an otherwise good meal. Rodents such as rats are also associated with dirt hence meaning unkempt areas in your compound will provide them with a safe dwelling. It is good to note that apart from the embarrassment that these disease carrying rodents and parasites will cause you in the presence of guests, they will also bring along some dangerous germs that can end up being detrimental to the entire family’s health.
Cleanliness averts allergic reactions
A number of organisms have been linked to the triggering of allergic reactions in individuals. These allergic reactions include sneezing and sniffling. What is important to note here is that all these organisms are linked in one way or the other to dirt and failure to maintain high levels of cleanliness. These organisms are identified as moulds, dust mite, cockroach waste, and pet dander. Dust mites for example have been identified to contribute to almost 70% of all the allergic reactions of an individual in the home setting. These are largely microscopic organisms that dwell in unkempt and feed in the scales shed from the skin of a human person. Failure to wash beddings, pillows, curtains and the carpet will encourage the accumulation of thousands of these dust mites and hence lead to more complicated allergic reactions. It is therefore important to clean beddings and vacuum carpets from time to time to get rid of these organisms.
Cleanliness boosts self esteem and confidence
For most individuals, being in clean clothes, a well kempt hair as well as clean and presentable shoes will work wonders for their confidence levels and esteem. Behavioral experts have in the past indicated that a high self esteem averts the probability of stress or any other psychological disorders brought about by a low self esteem. In that light, a well groomed individual will be more confident to meet people and engage in discussions and chats more freely. It is also true that how clean an individual looks will determine how well he will be accepted or received be it in a group discussion or otherwise. This is an aspect hat has been largely utilized by con artists to lull their victims into con and fraud schemes. Based on that, it is clear that cleanliness results in an increased quality of life and health for an individual. For job seekers, cleanliness may determine whether they will get that coveted job or not. This is because among the things an interviewing panel will check in a prospective candidate is how presentable he will be to their clients. It is also true that a dirty and crumpled resume or curriculum vitae will put off a prospective employer even before he meets the candidate. It is therefore important for individuals to maintain high levels of cleanliness whether they are job seekers or not so that they are not bypassed by opportunities based on how unkempt and dirty they look.
Cleanliness can be used as tool to influence future behavior in children
In some quarters, it is said that the way you bring up a child will influence his or her future behavior. To ensure that children grow up to be adults who observe high levels of hygiene and cleanliness, parents should ensure that they maintain high levels of hygiene in the home setting. Parents should ensure that the children’s rooms are always tidy and clean. In addition to that, the compound should be well maintained and children made to understand that dirt and refuse should be disposed off in a responsible manner. This will contribute towards bringing up children and young ones who hold cleanliness in high regard.The emphasis of cleanliness should not only be left to parents at home but schools should advance this cause with more vigor and determination in a quest to ensure students develop a sense of cleanliness in their current as well as future undertakings. School classrooms and compounds should always be clean and well kempt. It is only by doing this that children can grow up into grown up people who hold cleanliness in high regard.
Cleanliness can be used as a competitive advantage in the business world
The environment in which businesses today operate has become highly competitive and to survive the competition, businesses today have to adopt innovative strategies. In the hospitality and healthcare industry, cleanliness is one such thing that can be used to gain an edge in the marketplace. It is good to note that in some jurisdictions, hotels and catering businesses must comply with some legal requirements that dictate the levels of cleanliness that must be maintained in these establishments. Failure to comply with these legal provisions which are enforced by local authorities can lead to a business establishment being deregistered or forced to pay hefty fines and penalties. To attract customers, hotels and restaurants must ensure that they maintain high levels of cleanliness.In most cases, customers would be more comfortable taking their meals in a clean hotel or restaurant. Restaurants with dirty dining areas, plates and whose employees are not clean may not get any customers at all. It is hence very important for these kinds of businesses to ensure they maintain very high levels of hygiene and cleanliness not only to attract customers and comply with legal provisions but also to avert infections that may be brought about by organisms resident in the establishments as a result of dirt. In this category are also hospitals and other healthcare institutions. Dirty hospitals may also provide fertile breeding grounds for germs and other disease causing organisms. It hence makes great sense to ensure that disposals in the hospital setting are done in the correct way to avoid dangerous transmission of germs both to patients and the hospital staff.
Cleanliness as an aspect of professionalism
It can be argued that cleanliness and professionalism go hand in hand and hence in some sense these two things are intertwined. A consultant with an office must ensure that she keeps her office very clean as a way of underscoring professionalism and keeping the customers comfortable. It is highly unlikely that a client will consider conducting business with a firm if upon visiting the firm’s offices he or she encounters dirty seats, papers spewed on the floor etc.With that in mind, firms should ensure that cleanliness is part of the professional conduct the employees are expected to adhere to not only in their interaction with clients but also at the workplace.
The impacts that a dirty area will have on its immediate surroundings
It is not uncommon to come across a dirty living area which has a very high traffic of persons. This may be; at the workplace, home setting or even at the market where buying and selling of goods and services takes place.
Effects of a dirty hospital on its immediate surroundings
A hospital which does not maintain basic levels of cleanliness puts the lives of its staff as well as patients in a vulnerable position as far as infections are concerned. Based on the nature of its activities, a hospital environment harbors a lot of germs ranging from viruses to bacteria and fungus. These infection risks can be found anywhere in the hospital setting from door handles to hospital walls and floors. A hospital that does not regard cleanliness highly will therefore facilitate the transmission of germs amongst its staff and the re-infection of treated patients. This will lead to the defeat of the initial goal of hospitals to provide healthcare.
Effects of a dirty food store to its immediate surrounding
A dirty food store may harbor rodents and other disease causing parasites. For a food store that has decomposing foodstuffs in uncovered pits in its vicinity, rats and other rodents may be a nuisance. The presence of rats in a food store may put the commodities being sold at the risk of being infected. Considering that most of the commodities for sale at a food store are meant for human consumption, this may be a health risk factor for all those who purchase their supplies from such a store. Other disease carrying parasites that may be present around unclean food stores include cockroaches etc.
Effects of a dumpsite within a living locality on its surroundings
In some localities, especially low class residential blocks, uncovered dumpsites are often located in between houses posing a great danger to not only grown ups but to children in the vicinity. Apart from their potential to provide abode to disease carrying rodents and parasites that may affect the health of the locals around them, it has been noted that children convert them to playing grounds hence putting them at obvious risks. Among the items that may be dumped at such places include broken glasses, used syringes amongst other very dangerous items. When stepped into by these children as they play, they can cause septic wounds that may be detrimental to the health of these children.
Effects of a dirty beach to its immediate surroundings
O’Shea et al. (2010) notes that a beach that is largely unkempt and dirty may pose obvious risk factors to those who use it. He notes that due to the diversity of those who use ocean beaches, it is not unusual to find used syringes left behind by drug dealers. These syringes are in most cases infected with a wide range of germs and other bacteria.Considering that most people walk around the beach bare foot, they can easily step into such syringes. In fact, it should be noted that this can cause infections such as HIV and tetanus. The only way to avoid such misfortunes is to ensure that public beaches as well as private beaches are kept as clean as possible by utilizing beach boys who may be paid to collect any sort of refuse and dirt at any beach visited by members of the public.
Effects of a dirty neighborhood to its immediate surrounding
Some residential neighborhoods especially those in the low class bracket maintain pathetic levels of cleanliness. This is more so in the developing countries where we have slums whose hygienic conditions are way down below average. In some cases we may have rivers bordering these residential places. This means incase of a heavy downpour, all the refuse and dirt is washed downstream where it is all collected by the river. This means that those people downstream who depend on the concerned river’s water for their personal use i.e. cooking or drinking and who in most cases don’t treat such water will be exposed to a wide range of germs washed downstream. The only way to remedy such a situation is for local authorities to come up with measures to ensure waste and dirt is disposed off responsibly in such residential areas especially when they border rivers.
Sources of dirt
When it comes to dirt, most people think of dirt in the house setting as dirty dished, unkempt rooms, a stained sink, etc. In the office setting, many people think of dirt as a cluttered desk and useless papers scattered all over the office. This is thinking of dirt in a big and often an incorrect way. Though dirt can in most instances be found in garbage pits or on any other surface that is not kept clean, it is also true that much of the dirt is in most cases unseen and can be found in the most unlikely places. According to Chesteron (2008); shoes, hands, shopping carts and pets are veritable sources of dirt that people don’t even give a thought to. Below, I consider some of them.Shoes are some of the items that are largely ignored as sources of dirt. We wear our shoes to protect us from all the nasty things we may step on and when we get back to the house, we bring them in along with us. While out there, shoes gather a lot of germs as they are constantly in contact with the ground. We also allow children into the house with their shoes on and in most cases; they end up stepping on the carpeting and the seats hence spreading dirt and germs everywhere.Our hands are also other major sources and gatherers of dirt. According to Chesteron (2008), a computer keyboard has a higher dirt and germ concentration than an average toilet seat. This is because our fingers and by extension hands which are constantly in touch with the keyboard gather a lot of dirt from a wide variety of dirty surfaces such as door handles etc.
A handshake with a person who does not maintain high levels of cleanliness can also leave us with dirt transferred from such individuals.Purses, handbags and backpacks have also been identified as some of the most unsuspected sources and carriers of dirt. Ladies, students etc oftenly place these purses on dirty surfaces be it on the toilet floor, the bus floor or any other dirty surface. These purses and handbags may then end up on top of café counters, dining tables etc with all the dirt they carry.Next, shopping carts are other veritable sources of dirt. Most shopping carts have a little allowance either at the front or back mainly for carrying babies. Those not accompanied by babies however in most cases use these allocations to put extra foodstuffs as they are shopping. These allocations in most cases have traces of germs left as a Child’s shoes and diapers may be a source of bacteria and other germs. When foodstuffs are placed into these allocations therefore, all those who will consume them later are kept at risk. The handle used to push these carts around also harbor vast amounts of dirt considering all those who have used it before.Lastly, pets like cats and dogs no matter how clean they look are also known to carry about a lot of germs by their paws. Letting these pets on cooking surfaces may leave dirt residue on these surfaces. Pet feces may also have worm eggs that are potentially harmful to human health.With all these in mind, it is good to note that if something looks clean, it should not necessarily be taken to mean it’s clean as dirt is not in some cases visible to the naked eye.
Based on the above intrinsic values of cleanliness, it is clear the importance of cleanliness both to the human life and the environment cannot be overstated. Individuals should be aware of the effects dirt has in the broader sense so as to ensure that their lives are underscored by high levels of cleanliness.
Smith, V. (2002). Cleanliness: Cleanliness, Hygiene and Purity 300,000 BC to 2000 AD. Random House of Canada, Limited
O’Shea, M.V., Kellogg, J.H. (2010). Health and Cleanliness BiblioBazaar
Chesteron, G.K. (2008). What's Wrong with the World. READ BOOKS