Germs are all around us. Some germs are beneficial, while some are harmful. Some are found outside the house, while others are found in the house. However, some of these germs put you and your loved ones at risk of viruses and diseases.
We know that the home, has nooks and crannies which can act as a breeding ground for mold, staph germs, yeast and coliform bacteria, so extra attention needs to be paid to these areas to ensure that your home is safe health-wise. Interestingly some parts in your home are germier than others. Journey with me as I show you these areas that you should pay attention to.
Contrary to the popular belief that the toilet is the germiest part of the home, Dr Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona research has revealed that the household sponge ranks high on the list. Based on his research he said, “almost all of them have E. coli growing in them, and 15% of them had Salmonella in our studies.”
We know that the sponge stays wet and moist and as a result provides plenty of food for bacteria and during his study, he revealed that 86 percent of sponges had mold and yeast, 77 percent had coliform bacteria, and while 18 percent had staph infection. This can be attributed to the fact that the sponges wash various types of food and are rich surfaces for these germs to feed.
Also, National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) research revealed that more than 75 percent of dish sponges and rags had Salmonella, E. coli, and faecal matter compared to 9 percent on bathroom faucet handles.
While this might sound alarming, the solution is also very easy. Microwaving your wet sponge for 60 seconds will kill the germs. you can do this at least once a week. You could also try to soak sponges in a quart of warm water with half a teaspoon of concentrated bleach as this could also help in disinfecting.
It has also been revealed that the kitchen contains more germs than the bathroom with the kitchen sink being the second germiest place in your home. This is not really hard to believe as a lot goes into the sink including waste from raw items that have a lot of germs. It’s also the spot where you rinse your plates and utensils before placing them in the dishwasher. NSF’s study revealed that 45% of the sinks contained coliform bacteria while 27% contained mold.
Try to disinfect the sink at least once a week, also ensure that the drains and disposals are disinfected at least once a month. Also, make sure that if you use a bleach solution you rinse properly afterwards.
Ensure that you wash your hands before and after touching or handling food, also make sure that you wash, dry and iron your dishtowel a few times a week.
Other things in the kitchen that also harbour germs include: cutting boards, refrigerator, especially areas in contact with uncooked and unwashed food, kitchen sink and countertops, refrigerator handles, microwave handles ensure to wash and clean properly at least once a week.
That place that you put your toothbrush, yes! So if your toothbrush holder is located close to the toilet, it may be subject to particles that are sprayed into the air when you flush. Research carried out by NSF revealed an alarming 64% of toothbrush holders containing mold and yeast, 27% contained coliform while 14% contained Staphylococcus.
Try to close the toilet when you flush and ensure that you keep your toothbrush holder as far away from the toilet as possible. To ensure safety, ensure to wash your toothbrush holder on a weekly basis, and consider changing your toothbrushes every 3 months.
Knobs, handles, and switches
Some less obvious places for germs include are countertops, handles, knobs, bathroom doorknob, faucet handle, gas stove knobs and light switches with the bathroom light switches being the dirtiest. Make sure to wipe these surfaces with bleach or disinfectant.
Kitchen slabs and countertop
The countertop is the kitchen’s hub, yeah, and most of the time, you buy your groceries and stuff for cooking (which was obviously on the floor of your car) and place them on your kitchen slab. During Gerba’s research 32% of countertops had coliform bacteria while 18% contained mold. Ensure to keep non-food items off the countertop, and disinfect before and after preparing food.
You can clean these spots once a week with disinfecting wipes and it is ideal to use a new wipe for every spot instead of reusing the same one.
The toilet and bathroom
It is not surprising that germs are found here as there is a lot of moisture and of course your own body dirt is here. To ensure that you get rid of the germs, pay special attention to the shower tubs, drains, faucets, the floor area around the toilet seat, bath towels and toothbrushes.
You can also wipe these surfaces and handles down with disinfectant on a daily basis and do a thorough cleaning once a week. Using your old toothbrush can also come in handy for cleaning small spaces like around drains and faucets. Also, ensure that you replace bathroom towels once a week and your toothbrushes every 3 to 4 months.
If you carry your makeup bag outside the house ensure that you clean the nooks, and crannies as well as your makeup applicators as they are the major locations that harbour germs.
Keep in mind that germs that live on your makeup applicators can cause skin and eye infections. You may need to change the way you store your makeup. Ensure that your products are kept in a clean, dry space at room temperature.
To keep makeup brushes clean, ensure that you wash them at least once a week with regular soap and water, or use an alcohol spray on the brushes.
Try not to leave your wet laundry in the washing machine, even for a short amount of time, as this can cause germs to flourish. Ensure that you dry your clean clothes immediately after each wash because if clothes sit in the washer for more than 30 minutes, you may have to run a second cycle on the clothes.
There are other spots you can find germs that a lot of us don’t pay attention to and they include: toilet handle, toilet seat, bathroom doorknob, bathroom light switch, cellphone, keyboard, remote control and hand towels.
To curb this, ensure that you clean their surfaces at least once a week to lessen the microbial load. Don’t be scared, germs will always be everywhere but ensure that the load is reduced drastically such that it cannot lead to any health challenge to you. Also, ensure that you do your best to clean your home as fewer germs equal good health.