How to Shop Safely and Avoid Germs

Published April 6, 2020
woman shopping with protective medical mask

You can learn how to shop safely, so you can avoid germs. There are a few subtle things you can do to avoid germs as well as some very obvious ones. Choose which works best for you.

Tips on Shopping Safely and Successfully Avoiding Germs

Shopping in local stores means you're going to come in contact with other people in a confined space. This can happen in large grocery stores, big box stores and small boutiques. A few straight-forward tips can help you avoid germs and catching the flu, a cold or other contagious illnesses when you shop safely in a store.

Practice Social Distancing

The most obvious way to avoid germs when shopping is social distancing. This means you should stand between three and six feet from other people. This can be very difficult to do in a grocery store or a large box store.

Wear Disposable Gloves

The handles on a shopping cart are a petri dish of bacteria. Slip on a pair of disposable gloves before you get out of your car. Make sure you don't touch your face while wearing the gloves. Make sure you discard them after using, so you don't bring germs into your home.

Only Handle What You're Buying

Some people like to pick up products and examine them prior to buying. Even if you're wearing gloves, you could be picking up a germ-laden object or package. Touch/handle only the products you are buying. Place them in your shopping cart and continue to move down the aisle.

Check Out With Little Contact With Germs

Some grocery stores have gone to plexiglass partitions between their cashiers and customers. This presents another barrier that could harbor germs, so don't touch this partition and stand too close to it. After you've offloaded your groceries, remove one gloves to retrieve your form of payment. If using a credit or debit card, insert it in to the card reader and return to your billfold. Once your card is safely stored, you can don the glove once more to complete your transaction.

Woman wearing protective face mask

Managing Self-Check Out to Avoid Germs

You can use the self-check out to avoid contact with a cashier. However, be aware that other people have been through these areas. If you're wearing gloves, you can scan, bag and pay for your groceries and/or other items.

Bagging Your Own Groceries

Some grocery stores have a bag-your-own policy, such as Aldi. You will be bagging your groceries after the person at checkout has handled each item. Wearing gloves, you can bag up your groceries.

Upacking and Storing Groceries

When you get home, you may want to use a disinfectant wipe for each item before putting in your pantry, refrigerator or freezer.

Wearing a Face Mask While Shopping

Some people wear face masks when shopping. This is especially a good practice for anyone who is sick. This practice prevents the sick person from contaminating other people as well as store items. If you're too self-conscious to wear a mask, consider wearing a scarf, so it covers your nose and mouth. This wouldn't be as obvious as a mask during the winter months. Make sure you wash your mask frequently.

Non-Gloves Shopping

If you opt not to wear gloves while shopping, be sure you use a hand sanitizer when you return to your car. Make sure you don't touch your face. You may also take a disinfectant wipe into the store and wipe down the shopping cart handle. This will provide you with a clean surface so you can push the cart about the store without worrying about a germy shopping cart handle.

Loading Groceries Into and Out of Your Car

If you're using gloves, you can grasp the door handle or release. Once you've offloaded your groceries, remove your gloves, turning them inside out and disposing in a trash can. Use a disinfectant solution or wipe on your car handle outside before getting into your car. Use the disinfectant on your keys and key fob.

Avoid Shopping in Stores

The only solution to avoiding germs is not shop in-person. Most grocery stores and big box stores have shopping online with free pickup or home delivery options.

Realistic Ways How to Shop Safely and Avoid Nasty Germs

If you take a few precautions, you can find ways to shop safely. You can avoid picking up a nasty germ when you're focused on good hygiene practices.

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How to Shop Safely and Avoid Germs