7 of The Germiest Places in Your Home – And What to Do About Them
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Monday, 25 June 2018
7 of The Germiest Places in Your Home – And What to Do About Them

You may already approach public toilets or street food vendors with caution, but harmful bacteria can be much closer to home. Hotspots throughout your home can act as unintentional breeding grounds for dangerous pathogens.
Read on to discover some of the most high-risk areas and how to keep germs out of your home for good.


An NSF International study found that kitchen sponges topped the list of the dirtiest places in your home. The warm, wet conditions in an ordinary kitchen sponge create a haven for harmful microorganisms to multiply. To make matters worse, these pathogens get spread throughout your kitchen as you wipe counters, sinks and cutting boards with your sponge. Kitchen sponges are a serious enough health threat that the FDA banned their use in commercial kitchens.
Cleaning and Safety Tips
If you’d like to keep your kitchen sponge, check out these ways to keep your sponge clean. But, overall, the best way to prevent sponge contamination is to stop using them. Dish cloths or rags make good replacements because they dry faster, which makes them less likely to grow bacteria. Hang them out flat after each use and let them dry thoroughly before using again. Have a few cloths in rotation so you always have a dry cloth handy.


Your kitchen sink can breed germs almost as well as your kitchen sponge. It’s where you wash harmful bacteria and other pathogens off your fresh food, but they don’t all go down the drain. Some collect and multiply in your sink’s damp and inviting environment. One study found coliform bacteria in almost half of the kitchen sinks they sampled. Coliform bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli, are bacteria that originate in feces. 

Cleaning and Safety Tips
Wash your sink thoroughly at least twice a week. Scrub it with a brush to get off any encrusted bacteria first, then spray your sink, taps, faucet and brush with a disinfectant. Let the disinfectant sit for at least 10 minutes before rinsing off.


The reservoir in your coffee maker is another surprising source of bacteria. Its moist and dark conditions make it ideal for germs. Yeast and mold have been found in 50 percent of household coffee maker reservoirs. Also, coliform bacteria are present in about one in ten coffee makers.
Cleaning and Safety Tips
Follow the cleaning instructions on your coffee maker, which typically recommend to add equal parts white vinegar and water to your reservoir, let it sit for half an hour, then brew the solution. Do this about every month to keep mold and bacteria to a minimum. The carafe, lid and filter basket should be cleaned daily.


Your kitchen countertops are exposed to a host of nasty germs carried on the bottoms of grocery bags, purses, backpacks, electronics and even pets. This is also where you prepare the majority of your food, so it’s vital to avoid any cross-contamination.
Cleaning and Safety Tips
Keep non-food items off your kitchen counter and disinfect it after preparing any fresh food. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to clean your countertop properly, depending on the type of material it’s made from.


Toothbrushes pick up bacteria from your mouth and provide a safe, damp environment for them to multiply. If that’s not icky enough, they can also pick up airborne germs that are released when you flush your toilet. A 2012 study found that the bacterium Clostridium difficile can be sprayed 25 centimeters (nearly 10 inches) above the toilet if you flush without closing the lid.
Cleaning and Safety Tips
Make sure your toothbrush and holder are in a well-ventilated area so they can dry out as quickly as possible. It’s recommended to run your toothbrush and holder through the dishwasher once a week, as well as get a new toothbrush at least every three months. And, of course, always close the lid before flushing your toilet.


You may not think of your laundry as a potential source of bacteria, but research has found that the average person’s underwear contains about a tenth of a gram of fecal matter. Another disturbing fact is that germs are not killed in a washing machine. If one item of clothing contains bacteria, viruses or other contaminants, these will spread to 90 percent of the other clothing during the wash cycle. Washing in hot water won’t really help either, as most germs can survive in hot water.
Cleaning and Safety Tips
The only way to get your clothes hot enough to kill bacteria and other pathogens is to put them in a dryer for at least half an hour on high heat. You can also dry them in the sun because ultraviolet light will destroy bacteria. Wipe the inside and outside of your washing machine with a disinfectant after each use, especially if anyone in your household is sick. And run your empty washing machine with water and bleach, or other disinfectant, at least once a month.


University of Arizona study found that 97 percent of people surveyed never washed their reusable bags. And this is a problem. The study also randomly tested 84 reusable bags collected from shoppers in Tucson, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Over half the bags contained many strains of harmful bacteria, including coliform bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli. Researchers pointed out that these bacteria are especially dangerous for young children, as their immune systems are still developing.
Cleaning and Safety Tips
Designate certain bags to use only for fresh food, then label separate bags for fresh produce, raw meat and other fresh foods. Wash these bags after every use, dry them in your dryer and never use them for packaged foods or purposes such as carrying books or clothing.
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