Let’s talk about the dirtiest places in your home! It has been estimated that the total mass of all the bacteria in the world is more than the mass of every other living thing combined. Yep, it’s 5 x 1030 bacteria versus the rest of the planet. Those numbers are hardly surprising when you know that, in the right conditions, a bacteria population can double in 20 minutes. We can’t stop bacteria from being everywhere…but we can limit them in our own homes. Know these bacteria hotspots and give extra cleaning attention to these areas that are likely the dirtiest places in your home.
The Kitchen Sponge
Most people know about the germiness of sponges, but it bears repeating. The structure of sponges gives bacteria lots of surface area to cling to. Sponges also remain moist long after you’ve used them and usually have small particles of food on them. All of these things make sponges a germ’s paradise.
Many suggest not using sponges, or throwing them out after a few uses. If you insist on continuing to use sponges, consider regularly putting them in the dishwasher with a load or in the microwave (wet!! never dry) for a minute or two. Both of these options provide bacteria-killing heat. Even with these steps though, don’t let sponges linger. Replace them every few weeks at the longest.
WebMD cites a British study that revealed E. coli and staph on some keyboards. Four keyboards out of the 33 in the study “had enough germs to be considered health hazards. One had levels of germs five times higher than that found on a toilet seat.” So what to do when the world is at your fingertips, but your fingertips are filthy? Wash your hands before sitting down at the computer and frequently wipe your keyboard down with a disinfecting wipe. Just be careful not to get your keyboard overly wet.
The Kitchen Sink
Your sink is not only the damp home of your sponge, but where you go to wash anything and everything; food scraps are just the beginning. Since the kitchen sink sees a lot of action, it breeds a lot of bacteria. To keep the germ population under control, clean and disinfect your sink regularly.
Toilet flushes send out an aerosol plume containing fecal matter and lots of other nastiness. Nearby toothbrush holders get hit by the grossness, collect it, and allow something truly nasty things to grow. Studies have found toothbrush holders hosting staph and coliform. You can and should clean your toothbrush holders… but what about your toothbrushes themselves? We think the best thing to do is just to put the lid down when you flush!
Makeup Bags and Purses
Women’s purses have been found to contain tens of thousands of bacteria, and a few sampled even contained germs numbering in the millions. Not only were the usual suspects like staph and E. coli there, but also salmonella and pseudomonas. To keep your bags germ-free, clean them regularly, reduce the items in them to only what’s necessary, and keep your bag off dirty surfaces like the floor and kitchen counters. If you’re in a bathroom stall and there’s no hook, hang on to your purse rather than putting it down somewhere. Leather and vinyl purses are typically cleaner than those made of cloth.
Seem Like All Places Are the Dirtiest Places in Your Home?
We could go on: faucet handles, remote controls, pet toys, pet food bowls, pet beds, under and around your stove…but we don’t want you feeling like every spot in your home is a red alert and you’re drowning in germs. It’s true, germs are a fact of life and they can make us sick. However, if you regularly clean the places we mentioned, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of bacteria-induced illness. Clean often, use common sense, and make peace with the germs.
Did I miss listing all the dirtiest places? Comment below… 🙂