“Could you pass the salt?” This has to be one of the most popular and innocently sounding dinner questions in existence. After all, a bit of seasoning never hurt anyone.
Yet studies show your salt and paper shakers are also moonlighting as viral and bacteria transmitters. It was a startling realisation to learn one of the places with the highest potential for contamination was atop my table.
This prompted me to dive into the deep, dark chasm that is the Internet and research the topic in more detail. I also consulted some professional cleaners to get the full picture of where bacteria can be found. So without further ado, here are 12 shockingly dirty spots in your home.
In this article:
If I were to ask you, “Where can the most bacteria be found”, you’d probably roll your eyes and answer in exasperation, “In the bathroom, obviously.”
And you’d be wrong. Turns out, it’s the kitchen. And it makes sense when you think about it.
The kitchen is where you prepare your food. It’s where you throw out organic waste, keep your leftovers, and it’s warm and damp on account of all the cooking.
It’s the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, like Richmond for germs. But let’s dive even deeper into specifics and see the biggest offenders.
The kitchen sink is where you can find the most bacteria in your home. That’s right – it’s not the toilet bowl.
Your sink offers the highest concentration of germs and bacteria because of its natural qualities – dark, damp, and overflowing with food leftovers.
Furthermore, it’s the last place most people think to clean or disinfect. So in time, the number of germs swells drastically. The good news is, it’s relatively easy to clean and get rid of germs. Here’s a detailed guide on how to clean your stainless steel sink with natural products.
In a 2011 study, the NSF found more than 75% of dish sponges and rags contain coliform bacteria. You may have heard of the more famous representatives of this “lovely” family – E.coli and salmonella.
Through the kitchen sponge, germs and bacteria can easily spread to your plates. And then simply hop into your food from where it can easily find its way into your digestive system and give you a nasty infection.
To prevent this, you should regularly replace your dish sponge. Never use it for more than a month, with two-three weeks being optimal. Also, disinfect it at least once a week.
There are several disinfection methods that work well. I’m a fan of using a solution 1:1 solution of vinegar and lemon juice and soaking it for a few minutes. Then wring out the solution, rinse, and you’re done. Quick and easy.
Another method includes soaking the sponge in water and putting it in the microwave for a minute. This is enough to kill most bacteria. Leave it there for 15 minutes until it cools off, then wring out the excess water and you’re done.
Note: Never put a dry sponge in the microwave. It will catch fire.
Surely your tea kettle can’t be that dirty, right? You boil water in it, for Pete’s sake! It kills germs like that’s its job.
While that much is true, most people miss the obvious. Everyone in your household is touching the handle, which helps spread germs like there’s no tomorrow.
Furthermore, if you have hard water, your tea kettle probably has more mineral deposits than an underground cave. Either way, you want to start cleaning it more often.
For mineral deposits, pour 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of water in the kettle, then simmer for 20 minutes. Allow it to cool down for 15-20 minutes, then rinse.
The bathroom gets a bad rep as the dirtiest room in the home. This isn’t the case, as we’ve already established. Yet, that doesn’t mean it’s not dirty. There are some pretty serious offenders, aside from the usual suspects.
Taking a nice, long bath after a hard day can be a great way to relax. However, if you’re not properly cleaning and disinfecting your bathtub, you might be sharing this pleasure with millions of microorganisms.
If you don’t clean your bathtub after every use, it becomes a breeding ground for germs. Over time, it accumulates a layer of scum called “biofilm”. This biofilm is an excellent environment for microbes.
To prevent this, make sure you clean and dry out your bathtub after every use. Or at the very least once a week.
You can use bleach for disinfection. If you’re not a fan of bleach and want a more natural cleaning agent, you can use white vinegar, instead.
Note: Don’t use vinegar if your bathtub is made of marble or other semi-porous material.
Faucet handles should be a pretty obvious germ transmitter, but they rarely come to mind. We often touch the faucet handles when our hands are dirty, but how often do we clean them up?
If you want to keep germs at bay, you should clean your faucet handles at least once a week. And don’t forget to disinfect them. Once again, white vinegar and lemon juice do wonders if you’re looking for an eco-friendly solution.
This next part will surely make you squeamish. Your toothbrush (the thing you put in your mouth at least twice a day) is a sanctum for bacteria.
Between the bristles of your toothbrush lies an entire microscopic ecosystem, rejoicing every time you brush your teeth. Leaving your toothbrush wet overnight allows bacteria to flourish and multiply.
Even if you’re using antibacterial toothpaste, that alone isn’t enough to kill all germs. I won’t even mention what happens every time you flush the toilet if you’re keeping your toothbrush close by.
So what can you do? First, close the toilet lid before you flush. Trust me on this. Next, make sure you leave your toothbrush where it can dry out after every use. It’s also a good idea to replace it on a regular basis.
Note: If you feel guilty about excessive waste, simply use a bamboo toothbrush. It’s as good as plastic, but it’s doesn’t add the same strain on the environment.
Side note: Some sources claim bamboo brushes are antimicrobial. I haven’t been able to find a study that tests this claim, so take it with a grain of salt.
Home office was becoming more popular even before the pandemic hit. The lockdowns merely accelerated this tendency. But with so many people working from home, we should pay close attention to the items we use in our day-to-day.
If you have a home office, odds are you’re working on a computer. This means your mouse and keyboard are a safe haven for dust, grime, and germs.
While your mouse and keyboard don’t offer as good a microbial environment as other entries on the list, you should still clean them regularly.
Your keyboard traps all sorts of dust, lint, debris, and, if you eat while you work – crumbs, creating an inescapable pit of dirt right under your hands. And your mouse isn’t any better.
So you should clean your mouse and keyboard at least once a month. All you need are keyboard cleaning gel, cotton slabs, rubbing alcohol, a can of compressed air, and a microfibre cloth.
Disconnect your mouse and keyboard from your computer (or if they’re wireless, remove the batteries). Flip over your keyboard and let any loose dirt fall off. Don’t be surprised once the debris starts falling.
Next, use the compressed air between the case to further remove any stubborn dust, dirt, or lint. You can now use the cleaning gel.
Once it’s done, take a cotton swab and dip it into the rubbing alcohol. It should be damp, not dripping wet.
Clean between your keys with the swab. You’ll probably need several swabs to get through the whole keyboard.
Note: If you’re environmentally cautious, you can use bamboo swabs, instead.
Finally, dampen the microfibre cloth with rubbing alcohol (once again – damp, not dripping), and wipe your entire keyboard.
To clean your mouse, wipe it with the damp microfibre cloth. If there are any hard-to-reach zones, such as around the buttons, you can clean them up with a cotton swab.
Note: Some websites recommend using a mixture of white vinegar and water instead of rubbing alcohol. While it may be more readily available, I haven’t personally tested this method so I cannot recommend it.
Whether you need to talk on the phone for work or simply checking out what your friends are up to, your phone and smartphone are often in your hands.
The bad news is, they’re germ magnets so you should clean them regularly (especially your smartphone). And, of course, you need to wash your hands regularly, but that goes without saying.
To clean your desk phone, simply unplug it and wipe it off with a cleaning wipe. Alternatively, you can use a disinfectant and a microfibre cloth. Spray the disinfectant on the cloth, not the phone.
Wipe it thoroughly. If there’s caked in dirt between and underneath the buttons, you can spray some disinfectant on a cotton swab and clean those hard-to-reach areas.
The procedure of cleaning your smartphone is pretty similar. Unplug it, turn it off, and remove the case. Clean the case separately.
Wipe off the smartphone with a cleaning wipe. Alternatively, spray disinfectant on your microfibre cloth and wipe it. Make sure the cloth isn’t wet. Avoid liquid entering any of the ports.
Note: Don’t use 100% alcohol products because they can damage the coating. 70% is more than enough. Also, never spray your smartphone directly.
Using pens, pencils, and markers is pretty old-school to most people. I, personally, rarely use them and only for very specific tasks when I need to have things on paper.
However, some people work with lots of physical documentation or simply prefer the old-school approach. There is nothing wrong with that. Yet there’s a small caveat – make sure you regularly clean up and disinfect your pens, pencils, and markers.
You can use rubbing alcohol, disinfectant spray, or white vinegar and lemon juice. It’s up to you. But make sure you do it at least once a week.
After it’s all said and done, it’s finally time to relax. Sit on the sofa, watch some telly or read a book. But while the warm embrace of safety and comfort is slowly enveloping you, there is something you should know.
Your remote control is one of the biggest germ magnets in your living room. Since it’s shared by the whole family, it’s a germ exchange extravaganza.
The good news is, it’s a relatively easy problem to solve. Clean it up with an alcohol wipe once or twice a week and regularly wash your hands before and after touching it.
Carpets are a fabulous addition to any room. But they’re magnets for germs, dirt, debris, and bad odours. Not to mention allergens.
Vacuuming your carpet once or twice a week isn’t enough to get rid of all the nasty agents hiding beneath the surface. Most vacuum cleaners aren’t powerful enough for the task. And those that are would cost you a pretty penny.
One solution to this problem would be booking professional carpet cleaning. Professional carpet cleaning machines can remove all the nastiness from underneath the surface.
Because the machine uses hot water and professional-grade cleaning agents, followed by powerful suction, there’s little that will remain in your carpet after the treatment.
These treatments would also help with the longevity of your floor coverings. Booking a service twice a year is a good frequency. Of course, you can get the service more often if you feel you need to.
The case with the sofa is pretty much the same as your carpet. Except you also sit and lie in it, which makes the fact that it’s full of dirt, germs, dust, and allergens even worse.
Not to worry – we can offer you a solution to this problem, as well. Professional upholstery cleaning is a great way to deal with those pesky microbes making your sofa their home.
Booking this treatment is about more than cleanliness. It’s about peace of mind.
While the usual suspects like the toilet often get the bulk of our attention, there are other shockingly dirty places in our homes. We would do well to address them in kind.
The good news is that once you’re armed with this knowledge, it’s relatively easy to deal with these places. Of course, it takes time, but that’s another problem that’s easy to solve – simply book our regular domestic cleaning in London. This way, you get to enjoy a clean home and your free time.
Disclaimer: Samyx Cleaning is a cleaning company and this is a cleaning blog. None of the advice above should be interpreted as medical advice. If you have any medical problems, make an appointment with your general physician or another medical specialist.
Hi, I’m Atanas - brand consultant and writer. I’m helping Samyx Cleaning create the best cleaning company blog on the Internet. Join us on our journey and learn how to live a cleaner, healthier, happier life in the process.