Where are germs hiding in your house? | The top 10 germiest spots in your house
Your home may be your refuge, but did you also know that it’s a perfect breeding ground for germs? We take a look at the top 10 germiest spots in your house, and what you can do to combat them.
According to its “Germiest Places in the Home” study, health and safety organisation National Sanitation Foundation International found that the kitchen is the room with the highest levels of contamination.
The top spot for germs is dishcloths. The NSF study found that more than 75 per cent swabbed positive for coliform bacteria, a family that includes salmonella and E. Coli. Try to switch dishcloths every week or so.
2) Kitchen sink
In second place is the kitchen sink, with 45 per cent of homes showing the presence of coliform here. We should be cleaning this every few days.
3) Coffee reservoir
This statistic will make you think before you sip your morning pick-me-up: 50 per cent of reservoirs in coffee machines were found to have yeast and mould.
Switches and handles
Switches and handles can be the most frequently touched items in a house and are ripe breeding grounds for bacteria.
4) Refrigerator handle
Staphylococcus aureus was found on the refrigerator handle in 14 per cent of households — a sobering thought considering its proximity to food.
While the bathroom did not fare as badly as the kitchen in the NSF study, it did reveal a number of places where nasties could thrive.
5) Bathroom taps
Twenty-seven per cent of bathroom taps were found to have yeast, mould and staph present. This shows how important it is to keep areas used for essential handwashing clean.
6) Toothbrush holders
Coliform was found on toothbrush holders in 27 per cent of homes, and yeast, mould and staph in 67 per cent of homes.
7) Toilet seats
Unsurprisingly, yeast, mould and coliform were found on toilet seats in 27 per cent of households surveyed. You won't miss this, next time you clean the house.
8) Bathroom light switch
Even the bathroom light switch is not safe from germs. In 23 per cent of households yeast, mould and staph were found there.
Dirty washing can be a source of germs, and clean clothes can be recontaminated by placing them on dirty surfaces.
9) Washing machine
Be careful not to leave wet clothes in your machine after a wash as the warm, damp environment is ideal for germs to multiply. What’s more, an article on the Healthline website says that energy-efficient washing machines can contain more bacteria because they wash at lower temperatures. Thoroughly cleaning your washing machine can help reduce the number of germs hiding there. For more guidance, see the NHS website, which is packed full of tips.
You want to feel comfortable in the room where you spend most of your relaxation time, so it may shock you to know that the study found that many household items were contaminated, including remote controls and pens.
If you use your laptop while relaxing in your living room, make sure you clean it regularly. In their study, the NSF found that 68 per cent of households had keyboards showing signs of yeast and mould.
Take home message
Fight back against contamination by frequently cleaning your home with hot water, detergent and antibacterial wipes. Just as important is washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. To help you establish a good routine, take a look at WHO’s hand hygiene resources.
Don’t forget to get your hands. on a hand sanitiser to complement your routine.