In 2011, NSF International conducted a study with the goal of identifying the germiest places in the home. The results? The areas participants anticipated would be the dirtiest were actually lower on the list than areas that weren’t even on their radar.
The misconceptions revealed in this study prove that a lot of people are unknowingly exposed to household germs every day that are harmful to their families. Let’s put these areas under a microscope for a minute and take a deeper look.
Most Common Areas For Household Germs
Some common germs found in the home are yeast, mold, Staph, E. coli, Salmonella, and fecal matter. These germs can either spread from person to person directly or by transfer via surfaces. Each of them are dangerous and can make you sick.
Here are some areas in the home where these germs are most often found.
In their study, NSF International found that over 75% of dish sponges contained fecal matter, E. coli, and Salmonella—significantly more than the 9% found on bathroom faucet handles.
Note: to reduce bacteria in kitchen sponges, clean them at least weekly. Either soak sponges in water then place them in the microwave for one minute, or put them through a dishwasher cycle.
This study also found 1,000 times more bacteria in the kitchen sink than in the toilet! Pretty staggering, right?
Light Switches And Handles
Here are just a few areas that had more germs than a bathroom doorknob: bathroom light switches, knobs on the stove, and fridge and microwave handles.
Pretty surprising, right? This is especially concerning when considering how often we touch these contaminated surfaces.
To reduce the risk of bacteria, wipe down light switches and handles with a disinfecting wipe at least weekly.
Wet laundry left in the washer creates the perfect atmosphere for mold and germs to grow. Move wet laundry to the dryer within 30 minutes of the cycle finishing, or consider rewashing the load.
Our cell phones are covered in fecal matter, yeast, mold, and bacteria. Think about how often you touch your phone and hold it to your face! To keep germs at bay, wipe down your phone with a disinfecting wipe every couple of days.
Our sweet fur babies carry surprising amounts of bacteria, staph, yeast, and mold on their paws and in their hair or fur and into our homes. They then transfer these harmful germs to our own bodies, and especially to our furniture and carpet.
Grout is one of the most porous surfaces in the home, meaning it literally soaks up bacteria. As moisture and soil build up in the deep crevices of grout, it creates a breeding ground for germs and mold. The toughest part about grout is it’s very difficult to clean.
Professional tile and grout cleaners have equipment strong enough to remove dirt and bacteria from deep down in these pores. It’s recommended to schedule this service at least twice per year.
All the germs and bacteria discussed above are most commonly transferred from person to person, or by pets. Think about it: furniture is the most common place for us to sit. It’s no surprise that the couch is often the dirtiest piece of furniture in our homes.
Our furniture acts as giant filters—trapping dirt, bacteria, oils, hair, and other particles. The problem is, just like with any filter, our furniture fibers fill up and need to be emptied. Otherwise, our children and pets could be at risk of exposure to harmful bacteria and allergens.
In order to maintain a clean and healthy home, furniture should be professionally cleaned at least two times during the year. It’s easier to remember if you schedule your carpet cleaning and upholstery cleaning service at the same time.
Did you know that carpet can hold up to eight times its weight in dirt and dust? Here’s another shocker: our carpets are often even dirtier than a city street.
Did you cringe a little when consider how often you walk around barefoot or lay on your carpets?
Professional carpet cleaners can remove bacteria, allergens, and even pet stains and odors from your floors with your regular service.
How To Have A Cleaner, Healthier Home
It’s clear that cleaning procedures have a significant impact on the spread of germs in our homes. For many of the areas listed above, regular cleaning (at least weekly) with disinfecting wipes or other cleaners can make a significant difference.
Home Health Studies show that we can remove 98% of allergens from carpet and upholstery, 89% of airborne bacteria, 99.2% of bacteria from pet urine in carpets, and 98.6% of bacteria from tile, stone, and grout.
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