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The Daily Dish Health

Nix the Germs! These Are the Touch-Free Items You Need to Battle Flu Season

Say "bye, bye, bye" to messy soap dispensers and "open" to your new trash can.

By Courtney Thompson

This year’s flu season is in full swing and it’s the worst to hit in a decade. The virus is widespread in nearly every state in the nation, and the CDC is saying we’re not even in the peak of the season yet (meaning we could have seven whole weeks left). While the best defense is a flu shot, our second-best way to stay healthy — without becoming a Miss Havisham-level recluse — is constant handwashing.

Seems easy enough, but if I’m going to be honest, as a mom of three young kids, I cringe when it comes to handwashing. Yes, I force them to constantly clean their filthy mitts — after they use the bathroom, after I catch them picking their noses, after they sneeze directly onto their fingers. But the mess, THE MESS, that comes with kids attempting to wash their hands is a headache for parents everywhere. After my 3-year-old tries to wash his hands, for example, my bathroom counters are coated in water and foam soap is everywhere. It looks like a tsunami has hit our powder room, and the soap dispenser is coated with finger prints, gooey soap and — you guessed it — germs. Thus, erasing the whole point of the washing exercise.

Which is why Simplehuman’s sensor soap pumps are giving me life. No touching involved, the pumps dispense liquid or foam soap (depending on which version you buy) with nary a messy drip afterward thanks to a silicone valve that snaps shut. I told my kids it was a “robot soap holder,” which got them pretty jazzed to wash up, and they loved how the soap automatically dropped out when they placed their hand underneath the motion-sensing spout. Has my bathroom mess completely disappeared? No, because there’s still water involved, but I can handle water — it was the sticky water/soap combo that was breaking my soul every time I entered the loo.

While I recommend the Simplehuman’s Foam Cartridge Sensor Pumps for bathrooms, the Rechargeable Sensor Pump is great for kitchens because it holds liquid soap that you can use for washing pans, dishes, etc. Yes, I blame my kids for being gross soap pumpers, but my dish soap dispenser (used primarily by, um, me) was just as unpleasant, caked with smudges and drips for days. Both are battery free and recharging plug — one charge lasts for three months!

Another grimy problem in my household? The trash cans. Teaching kids how to throw out garbage without actually touching the garbage can is really just a lesson in how to not lose your Goddamn mind. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve said, “Throw it in the garbage, but don’t touch the garbage can, use the foot pedal. I said don’t touch, DON’T’ TOUCH THE GARBAGE CAN!” Which is then, of course, followed by: “NOW GO WASH YOUR HANDS.”

Enter Simplehuman again, rescuing us desperate (and maybe just a wee bit uptight) parents with the brand-new sensor trash can that has … wait for it … voice control. While you might not think you need a smart trash can, I’m here to say you do. That’s right, just say, “Open can” and the trash lid opens automatically. Actually, you can pretty much say anything that starts with “Open” (Sesame, Mr. Trash Monster, etc.) and the lid will release. Which means no more tiny hands grabbing the dirty lid. No more scrambling to open the trash when you’ve got raw chicken wrapping in your hands. No more disinfecting the can every day.

An infared motion sensor on the front of the can also sense the area above the trash can and will open if you or your kids opt to just wave your hand instead, closing slowly afterward (read: no fingers getting pinched!). Either way, no-touch equals no germs, no fingerprints and less mess. Say it with me mamas: LESS MESS.

More to like? The cans have a clear coating that actually wards off fingerprints and germs, and they come in five kicky colors, including the ever-popular rose gold and a futuristic white that I’m really digging. The 58-liter recycler can is great for those of us who like to have both our trash and recycling containers together in one place, and the recycling bucket has a helpful handle that makes for easy lifting. At $250 the price is steep, but considering the brand’s other cans are anywhere from $150 to $180, this upgrade is worth the price.

Shop the soap dispenser and trash can below.

Simplehuman Rechargeable Sensor Pump

Simplehuman Foam Cartridge Sensor Pump

Simple Human 8-Fluid Ounce Sensor Pump

Simplehuman 13-Fluid Ounce Sensor Pump with Caddy

Simplehuman 58L Recycler Rectangular Sensor Can

Simplehuman 58L Rectangular Sensor Can


Simplehuman 45L Semi-Round Sensor Can


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