Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve already come into contact with one of the dirtiest things in your home. Whether it’s your cell phone or computer—there’s a fungus among us.
In fact, lots of things you use every day, in your own home, are harboring bacteria that can make you sick. Sure, washing your hands helps, but if you keep handling the contaminated item, it’s not doing much good. Knowing the source of the contamination makes it a much fairer fight.
But you don't have to live in fear of germs—especially if you develop a regular cleaning schedule. So, let’s take a look at the eight dirtiest things in your home and what you can do to keep things clean.
Germs love to breed in warm, moist and dark environments. The reservoir of your coffee maker provides this triple threat. It can house high levels of yeast, mold—even E. coli.
Keep it clean by washing the coffee pot with soap and water after every use. You should also run a solution of vinegar and water through it once a month.
Throwing it in the microwave may or may not keep it clean. Your best bet is to replace it every week or two.
The same study found dish towels high on the list of ickiness, too. Towels are made to absorb water, which is great for growing bacteria.
To decrease your risk, wash your towels regularly, or use paper towels and throw them away.
The kitchen sink is another one of the dirtiest things in your homes. That includes the faucet and countertop. Food preparation is usually the culprit. Bacteria touches your hand and you touch the counter and faucet. Common bacteria found in the kitchen include:
- E. coli
Clean everything daily with disinfecting cleaner or disinfecting wipes. You may even want to let the solution sit on the counter for a few minutes before wiping it down.
Another thing you like to touch with your dirty hands is the refrigerator handle. It, too, is typically tied to food prep. Some bacteria can live on surfaces for as many as three days.
Periodically wipe down your handles (including oven knobs) with a mixture of chlorine bleach and water to keep them fresh.
Reusable Grocery Bags
Reusable grocery bags double as a good place for bacteria to grow. Meats (usually a leaking package) are a common contamination culprit.
You can throw most reusable bags in the washer and dryer, or hand wash them and let them line dry.
Some researchers say the average (shared) computer keyboard has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Some of that bacteria can live there for 24 hours or more.
Make it a habit to wipe your keyboard down on a regular basis with either rubbing alcohol or the cleaner of your choice.
Speaking of the bathroom, your toothbrush holder is another “reservoir of germs.” Another National Sanitation Foundation study found 27 percent of them with coliform bacteria.
Soak your toothbrush holder in antibacterial mouthwash, and rinse with hot water, every time you clean the bathroom.
You don't have to live in fear of germs. Lots of germs are harmless, many are even good for your health. But you can help protect yourself from those that aren’t by keeping your hands clean.
The CDC recommends regular hand washing with soap and water, washing your hands for 20 seconds—especially during flu season.
Speaking of flu season, if you're looking for more tips to avoid coming down with the flu, check out our guide "How to Get Rid of the Flu or Not Get It At All."