In an effort to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have become particularly preoccupied with germs and their whereabouts. From sanitizing grocery cart handles to vigorously scrubbing the common areas in the breakroom to religiously cleansing frequently used door handles, you may find yourself going above and beyond in your attempts to keep COVID — and other germs — at bay. While your efforts are not for naught, they may be slightly ill-focused. Because, while germs are everywhere, they’re most likely propagating in areas to which you’re not paying attention — many of which are in your very own home.
Though obvious places in your home require daily scrubbing, there are several others that you may only clean once or twice a week, if that. Unfortunately, these are likely areas that accumulate the most bacteria. Read on to discover four surprising hot spots for germs in your home.
1. The Kitchen Sink
The National Sanitation Foundation found that places in which food is stored and prepared had more fecal matter and other forms of bacteria than any other place in the home. And a hotspot for germs in the kitchen is your sink.
From the sponge to the faucet to the basin itself, everything about your sink is disgusting if not frequently sanitized. While this may be alarming, the good news is that it’s easy to do something about all that grossness. Below are a few easy tips for keeping your kitchen safe and sanitary:
- Wipe down the sink basin and other surfaces with disinfectant wipes daily.
- Microwave sponges daily and replace them biweekly.
- Replace dishtowels frequently.
- Wash your hands before and after preparing food.
2. The Vacuum
From the brushes to the bags to the handles, vacuums are meals-on-wheels for bacteria. Not only do you suck up all the yuck in your home with this contraption and then just leave it to feed on itself but also, when you start it, it emits bacteria-infested dust particles back into the air. The easy fix: Clean all parts of your vacuum frequently and empty the bag after each use.
3. The Home Office and Living Room
As frequently used areas of the home, these rooms are bound to collect germs. However, specifically focus on the most commonly used items in each, such as the remote control and your computer keyboard. One study found that the majority of keyboards contained enough bacteria to be considered “health hazards,” while video game controllers and remotes often contain staph. Use disinfectant wipes on these items and other commonly touched surfaces daily and wash your hands before and after touching certain household items.
4. Toothbrush Holder
Research shows that the dirtiest item in your home is the dish sponge or rag. Coming in second, however, is your toothbrush holder.
According to studies, an average of 3,318,477 microorganisms live on every 10 square centimeters of your toothbrush holder. If your toothbrush holder is dish waster safe, pop it in the dishwasher twice a week, and your toothbrush along with it. If it’s not, use hot water and soap or disinfectant wipes to sanitize it.
Now that you’re officially grossed out, there is some good news. As much as 99% of the bacteria you encounter on a daily basis is harmless. Though you should use the information shared here to inform your cleaning efforts, don’t let it scare you out of living comfortably in your home. Practice good hygiene and clean surfaces regularly and you should be fine.