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Hidden Sources of Bacteria in Your Home

Hidden Sources of Bacteria in Your Home

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Bacteria can lurk anywhere

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One of the many ways that people clean their homes wrong is cleaning only when an area or room is visibly dirty. It is impossible to see the bacteria in your home by just looking at a surface. That is why it is best to be informed about where the sources of the bacteria in your home are, so that you can keep those areas properly cleaned and disinfected.

Bathtub and shower

Bathtub and shower

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According to a study from public health organization NSF International, many bacteria are attracted to areas of your home where you and other members of your family are cleaning themselves. Showers and bathtubs can be breeding grounds for dangerous germs due to the damp environment and their frequent use. However, other places you wouldn’t think to clean but should in your bathroom can be even dirtier.

Coffee maker

Coffee maker

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Even if you clean the pot that holds your coffee, you could still be exposing yourself to dangerous bacteria. On top of yeast and mold that can fester in the damp environment of the machine’s water reservoir, a study from NSF International found E.coli and other coliform bacteria in the coffee makers of college students.

Computer keyboard

Computer keyboard

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Whether you are working from home or are just using your computer for personal use, it’s probably something that is used often. One study from IT training company CBT Nuggets found that computer keyboards have more than 20,000 more bacteria than toilet seats and trackpads have more than 160 times more bacteria than money.

Countertop

Countertop

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The very surface on which you prepare your food could actually be teeming with bacteria. According to the study from NSF International, nearly a third of countertops have coliform bacteria lurking on them, while 18% of countertops were hiding yeast or mold.

Cutting board

Cutting board

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If you don’t clean your cutting board correctly, it could actually make you sick. When you cut raw meat on a cutting board, you expose the surface to all kinds of dangerous bacteria, such as salmonella and E.coli. Don’t make the cooking mistake of cutting your vegetables on the same board before cleaning the surface.

Faucet handles

Faucet handles

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Sinks might seem clean, but they can harbor high levels of bacteria. Even if you take care not to touch the faucet handles before washing your hands, you still want to clean them often. Faucet handles, especially in bathrooms, not only have a lot of bacteria, but they can also cause home maintenance issues if not properly cared for.

Keys

Keys

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Your keys have seen a lot: the insides of locks, the crumb-ridden floor of your purse, your countertop, your unwashed hands. Although smooth, cold surfaces tend to harbor fewer germs, according to NSF International, that contact is going to leave some germs behind. Then you touch the same germy surface every time you open your car or front door. Make sure to wash your hands often to avoid letting these germs come into contact with your food or your face.

Laundry

Laundry

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Dirty laundry can be filled with viruses, germs and bacteria. It is important that when handling dirty laundry, you do not shake it. This can actually release those viruses and bacteria on your clothes into the air and other areas around your home.

Makeup brushes

Makeup brushes

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If you continue to put makeup brushes on your face without cleaning them, it can have a negative effect on your skin such as breakouts or an infection. Dirty makeup brushes are filled with product residue, dirt and oil, which make them a breeding ground for bacteria. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing your makeup brushes every seven to 10 days.

Refrigerator shelves

Refrigerator shelves

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While you might think the cold temperatures in your fridge stop bacteria, listeria can actually grow and multiply in your refrigerator. Residue and spills, especially from meat juices, can contaminate other foods, and foodborne bacteria and mold will grow on expired food items. Discard any foods that have gone bad and wipe down the shelves with disinfectant. Make sure your frozen foods are also being stored on clean shelves.

Refrigerator handle

Refrigerator handle

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Throughout the day, people in your home are going to get hungry. Oftentimes, the first place they will look for a snack is the refrigerator. But because people are constantly putting their hands on it without cleaning it — sometimes after handling raw meat and other foods — your fridge’s handle can be covered with bacteria. 

Microwave handle

Microwave handle

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The refrigerator isn’t the only place in your kitchen that’s home to bacteria. Your microwave handle can be a trouble spot, too. These handles were found to have bacteria such as coliform, yeast and mold. Think about disinfecting your microwave handle before you warm up your leftovers.

Salt and pepper shakers

Salt and pepper shakers

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Touching your salt and pepper shakers with dirty hands is a kitchen habit you should stop now. According to a 2008 study, these shakers hide more germs than you might think. They were found to be a bigger germ hotspot than doorknobs, refrigerator handles, television remotes and bathroom faucets. So make sure you’re cleaning off your shakers before seasoning your favorite recipes.

Sponges

Sponges

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It’s especially important to regularly change your sponges and dishrags. Despite being used to clean your dishes and other surfaces in your kitchen, they can actually be a breeding ground for bacteria that then get spread around your house. Kill off the germs by running the sponge through your dishwasher or soaking it in a bleach or vinegar solution.

Stove knobs

Stove knobs

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The NSF International study found stove knobs to have some of the highest levels of bacteria in the home. They were often found to have coliform bacteria, yeast, mold and other germs. A common household mistake that could be making you sick is to ignore cleaning this area.

Toothbrush holders

Toothbrush holders

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Who would think that the object holding the toothbrushes that clean your mouth could be so full of bacteria? But toothbrush holders can have more bacteria than toilet seats, toilet handles and bathroom doorknobs, making them one of the dirtiest places in your home.

Pet bowls

Pet bowls

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Although dogs are some of the most popular pets, they do have many unsanitary habits. So think twice when you are feeding your pet and move to set their bowl on your table or countertops. Pet dishes should be washed just as often as the dishes you use to eat your own food.

Pet toys

Pet toys

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Similar to pet bowls, the toys that your pets put in their mouths or paw around can also attract bacteria. Yeast and mold are attracted to moist items, and pet toys were found to have more germs than countertops or cutting boards.

Kitchen sinks

Kitchen sinks

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Sinks might seem clean because that’s where you clean your dishes — but they can harbor high levels of bacteria. Despite getting rinsed with soap and water while you’re doing the dishes, plenty of gunk from your dirty dishes gets left behind if your sink isn’t cleaned and disinfected.

Video game controller

Video game controller

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While staying at home during coronavirus quarantine, have you been passing the time with video games? If you have, take a break and clean your controller — it is likely covered with high levels of bacteria. When your system is turned off, use cleaning products that are safe for electronics to wipe down your controllers.

Remote control

Remote control

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Before you go to casually change the channel on your television, think about how many people have touched the remote since it was last cleaned. While on a commercial break from your favorite heartwarming TV show, take out the batteries and clean and disinfect it with a wipe or cloth dipped in a cleaning solution. You can repurpose household objects like a cotton swab or toothpick to reach any gunk stuck around the buttons.

Pens

Pens

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Are you signing a check? Writing a letter? Planning your budget to save money? No matter what the case is, you could be using a pen that is covered with bacteria — and it can be passed to other spots in your home if you never wipe it off with disinfectant.

Toilet seat

Toilet seat

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This might not be too surprising, but your toilet seat likely has more germs than many personal items you touch constantly, including phones, keys and pens. However, it’s surprisingly not the dirtiest surface in your bathroom. According to the NSF International study, toothbrush holders were found to have almost 500 times more germs per square inch than toilet seats.

Purse

Purse

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Purses are often used to carry important items, such as your phone, wallet and other daily essentials. But throughout the day, they come into contact with many surfaces, so they can attract a lot of bacteria over time. The bottom of your purse, in particular, can get especially dirty. In NSF International’s study, the bottom of purses typically had four times more bacteria than paper money.

Family room carpet

Family room carpet

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A cozy, carpeted family room is often the location for many indoor activities with your kids. However, this area is a hot spot for bacteria and germs. It can collect a variety of particles, such as dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, dirt and dust, which attract bacteria, germs and bugs. It is important that you vacuum weekly with a machine with a motorized brush. If you’re looking to deep clean your home but don’t want to expose your family to harsh chemicals, try these all-natural cleaning solutions.

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