What if you found out there are places dirtier than your toilet bowl or nastier than used handkerchiefs? You would probably be quite disgusted. The truth is, things in your home that have the most bacteria may come as a real shock. While more bacteria and germs may be located throughout your home in areas that you least expect, you should be aware that germs are everywhere. You can, however, work to prevent them and reduce their impact on your life and wellness.
1) The Kitchen Sponge
One of the nastiest things in your home is right there where you prepare your meals. Research conducted by the University of Arizona describes kitchen sponges as a carrier of pathogens, spores, and fecal bacteria. You are probably wondering where the pathogens are coming from. Well you can thank the food particles that are left on plates in a damp environment. What should you do? You should regularly replace your kitchen sponges. When you wipe food from plates and build up residue on the sponge, throw it out! Some experts recommend doing something called a “smell test”. If the sponge starts to have an unpleasant odor, it is time to replace it. Kitchen sponges are inexpensive, so always keep a few extra on hand so you don’t have to reuse a filthy one.
2) The Cutting Board
Did you know that the cutting board that you use in your kitchen is a favorite place for germs? Research shows that a cutting board has 200 times more fecal matter on it than you would find on a toilet seat. When you use a knife on the cutting board, it cuts groves that give the germs and bacteria an ideal place to hide. This is caused by raw meat because many fecal bacteria originate from the internal organs of animals. To remove these culprits, you should wash plastic cutting boards with dish detergent and water, then mix a solution of 2 teaspoons of bleach and a gallon of water and let the board soak, but not overnight. Wooden boards should be done the same way, but there should be 2 tablespoons of bleach used in their mixture.
3) Your Faucets
The faucet handles on your bathroom sink can harbor 21 times more bacteria than you will find on your toilet seat. You may be shocked to learn that your kitchen faucets are usually even dirtier. Studies have shown faucet handles in the kitchen can have twice as much bacterium on them than you will find on your bathroom faucet handles. If you don’t regularly disinfect your faucet handles, washing your hands is not making them cleaner but it could be making you even dirtier. You should regularly clean your home’s sinks thoroughly. Use a sink disinfectant that will kill bacteria on contact and leave your sink free from germs.
4) Stove Knobs
Let’s go back to the kitchen and look at your stove knobs. A study found that 14% of stove knobs had coli form bacteria while 27% are home for yeasts and molds. You can get rid of these problems by removing the stove knobs weekly and washing them in soapy hot water. Often we fail to realize that the stove knobs that we turn off and on can be a good place to harbor bacteria. It is important that you regularly clean this part of your stove. Because knobs are easy to take off and on, cleaning shouldn’t be a challenge. If the knobs get too grimy, you may want to replace them with new ones. Cleaning your entire stove is important, but always remember to wipe off those stove knobs as well.
5) Pet Toys
When pet toys were examined, 23% were found to have staph bacteria, which can be potentially dangerous. Out of all household items that were studied, this was the highest percentage of staph bacteria discovered. Looking deeper, 55% of pet toys are infected with molds and yeast and 14% have coli form bacteria. To clean pet toys, scrub hard toys with soap, water, and mild bleach. Soft toys should be thrown in the wash. This goes to show that pets aren’t always the cleanest creatures around, so make sure you thoroughly and frequently clean the places where they put their mouths, including their food and water bowls. Regularly cleaning up after your pets and cleaning your pets’ things are important to keep bacteria and germs at a minimum.
6) Computer Keyboards
Researchers found the keyboards can have as much as five times more bacteria than a toilet seat. Stomach bugs are believed to have been spread through unclean computer equipment such as keyboards at schools and other public computer labs. Keyboards should be regularly cleaned and you should wash your hands and surfaces often when using a computer. This applies to laptop keyboards and desktop computer keyboards as well. If you are using a computer keyboard in a library or a computer lab, you should wipe off the keys before using it and then wash your hands immediately afterward. Even if you are the only one who uses the keyboard in question, clean it regularly.
While carpet may feel soft and comfortable beneath your feet, there are several things you should consider about your carpet. Bacteria enjoy eating dead skills. On average, we each shed about 1.5 million cells each hour which in turn, ends up falling into the floor. When you add pollen, pet dander, food particles, and other dirt and grime you are making the perfect home for bacteria to thrive. Regularly vacuuming your carpet won’t reach deep enough to get out the salmonella, E. coli, and staph that thrive in it. You need to hire a professional cleaning company to deep clean your carpet at least once a year to make sure the bacteria are removed. Enjoy your carpet, but don’t let it make you sick.
You may be surprised to learn that your designer bag isn’t as clean as you may think it is. Research conducted in Great Britain found that handbags are three times dirtier than an office toilet seat. The handles are the dirtiest and purses that are used regularly are 10 times dirtier than purses that are just used occasionally. Even the items carried in the purse can be dirty, such as lipsticks, lotions, and facial lotions. One way to help keep your purse clean is to never set it on the floor or on the ground. Carrying purses into restrooms is one way they become contaminated as well. Plastic and leather bags should regularly be cleaned with disinfectant wipes. Cloth bags should be washed regularly.
9) Your Smartphone or Tablet
A study found that tablets had as many as 600 units per swab of Staph and Smartphone’s can have as many as 140 units of Staph per swab. That same study revealed that the standard toilet seat only has 20 units of staph per swab. In another survey it was revealed that 75% of Americans use their phones to text, email, and even talk while they are on the toilet. You should regularly clean your phone or tablet. Use screen wipes or a soft, damp cloth. You may even want to consider not taking your phone into the restroom where it will become infected with germs and bacteria. It is hard to believe that something you hold in your hand and use throughout the day is dirtier than a toilet seat, isn’t it?