The Nasty Nine: Where are the Germiest Places In Your Home?

While some germs can be beneficial, others can pose a risk to your health and the health of your family members. Your home is a breeding ground of mold, staph germs and yeast, as well as coliform bacteria, due to all its corners and crevices.

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Cleaning in certain areas of your home can be more difficult than others. We talked with Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona, who is also known as “Dr. Germ.” Germ”, and we consulted a study done by the National Sanitation Foundation, a public safety and health organization. We were able to identify the germiest areas in your home and learn how to clean them.

1. Dish sponges

Freshome is told by Dr. Gerba that number one sponge is the household sponge. Most of them have E.coli and 15% of them had Salmonella. “That sponge is moist and wet, with lots of food for bacteria to digest.” According to the NSF study, 86% sponges contained mold and yeast while 77% had coliform bacteria. 18% sponges were filled with staph bacteria.

Many types of coliform bacteria can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. E. coli can cause respiratory problems and pneumonia in more severe cases.

2. Kitchen sink

Gerba states that the kitchen is home to more germs than any other room in your house, with the kitchen sink being the second-most germiest. This is easy to understand when you consider the fact that this is where you clean dirt and germs from raw food. This is also where you wash your plates and utensils prior to putting them in the dishwasher. According to the NSF study, 27% of sinks had mold and 45% contained coliform bacteria.

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Disinfect the sink, including the sides, at least once per week and preferably twice. Disposals and drains should be cleaned at least once per month. Use bleach solutions and rinse thoroughly.

3. Toothbrush holder

The toilet isn’t the most germy place in your bathroom. That distinction belongs to your toothbrush holder. Gerba actually believes that the toilet seat is the most germy because it is cleaned more often than other areas. If your toothbrush holder is close to the toilet, particles may get sprayed into the air. Alarmingly, 64% of toothbrush holders had mold and yeast. 27% had coliform, and 14% had staph.

When you flush, close the toilet and keep the toothbrush holder away from the toilet. If your toothbrush holder is dishwasher safe, you can place it in the dishwasher’s sanitizing cycle on a weekly basis. You might also consider replacing your toothbrushes every quarter.

4. Pet toys and bowls

Many pet’s favourite objects can also be germ-filled. As a matter of fact, 45% contained yeast and mold, and 18% had coliform bacteria. 55% of pet toys contained yeast and mold, and 23% contained bacteria.

Your pet’s bowls should be cleaned daily. NSF recommends washing your pet’s bowls in the dishwasher’s disinfecting cycle, or hand washing with soapy water. The bleach solution can be used to soak the bowls for 10 minutes, once per week if you prefer washing them by hand. Use soapy water to clean hard toys. Then rinse and dry. You can clean soft toys with your washer’s sanitizing cycle. NSF recommends that all household members wash their hands after coming in contact with pets.

5. Coffee reservoir

The coffee maker may be more than just giving you a boost of caffeine. The coffee reservoir is damp and dark, which makes it an ideal environment for germs to flourish. NSF found that half of the coffee reservoirs had yeast and mold, while 9% contained coliform bacteria.

Pour four cups of vinegar into a coffee reservoir. Wait 30 minutes and then brew the vinegar the same way you would coffee. After rinsing the vinegar, you should brew at most two cycles of water.

6. Bathroom faucet handles

Faucet handles, unless you have a touchless bathroom faucet, are the most germiest parts of your home. It’s understandable: Turning on the faucet means you can use the bathroom or wash your hands. NSF found that 27% of faucet handles had staph bacteria, and 9% had coliform bacteria.

Clean your faucet handles on a daily basis with a disinfectant spray, or wipes.

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8. Countertop

The countertop is the hub of the kitchen. You can place groceries and handbags, as well as backpacks and other items that were previously stored on the ground of your car, on this countertop. This is also where you cook food, some raw. It’s not surprising that 32% of countertops were contaminated with coliform bacteria, while 18% had mold.

Non-food items should be kept off the countertops and it should be cleaned after you prepare food. Note: Countertops can be made from a variety materials so make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions.

9. Stove knobs

How often do your stove knobs get cleaned? It’s probably not enough. According to the NSF study 27% knobs had mold and yeast while 14% had coliform bacteria.

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Wash the knobs of your stove on a weekly basis with soapy water.

Additional germ hotspots

The Nasty 9 is not the only place that can be germ-ridden in your home. Gerba says that the cutting board is 200 times more likely to harbor bacteria than a toilet seat. Gerba recommends two cutting boards, one for meats and the other for vegetables. “Also, if you handle raw food without washing your hands, your fridge door can become very germy.”

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