This article, entitled Some Top Germ “Hot Spots”….Like Lemons With Fecal Matter…Seriously comes from partner site 719woman.com.
I KNOW that I don’t wash my hands enough. I do wash my hands a lot when cooking but I don’t even think about washing them after shopping, going to the library or any other public place. Now I typically wash my hands before eating, but, there have been many times I’ve come home from the mall and popped a chip (or two) without washing my hands…it’s a wonder I’m still alive!
Some of these germ hot spots are probably areas you already know about. A few may surprise you though and I bet at least one is something you’ve probably never even thought about. Of course any surface can have germs on them, so without becoming obsessive about every single thing you touch, just know that the number one way germs are spread are by touching your mouth, eyes or nose with germy hands. Wash them often and well, and when out in public, carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer…believe me, you’ll want to when you read some of these.
This is just some of the top germiest hot spots in your home…
The top ten germiest areas in your home, according to the National Science Foundation, NSF, are…(listed in order with number one being the most “germy” area found in most homes):
- Kitchen sponges and dish rags - One thing you can do is to place wet sponges in the microwave for 2 minutes, once a day, and to replace as needed (the NSF suggests you replace them every 2 weeks.) Wash and change out dish rags every couple of days.
- Kitchen sinks – You should wash and disinfect the sides and bottoms at least once or twice a week with a disinfecting cleaner. Sanitize kitchen drains and disposals once a month by pouring 1 teaspoon household bleach to 1 quart water down the drain. Wash kitchen sink strainers in the dishwasher or hot, soapy water weekly. *When you rinse meats off in your sink, you should immediately wipe it down with a disinfectant so you don’t create cross-contamination. (Ok, so I knew those two but this next one…which just happened to test dirtier than toilets…)
- Toothbrush holders – YUCK! The NSF suggest you clean and disinfect these 1 to 2 times a week.
- Pet Bowls – I am so guilty of not cleaning ours on a regular basis. The NSF actually suggests you wash your pet bowls daily. Now when our cats ate wet food, I did do this but I figured with the dry food, well, let’s just say they don’t get cleaned daily. Washing with hot soapy water or running them through the dishwasher should do the trick. The dollar stores usually carry pet dishes so if you want to have extras on hand, that would be an inexpensive place to pick them up. There’s also a lot of thrift stores that give their proceeds to pet shelters that you can pick up used pet supplies at…And I will start cleaning our bowls so our animals don’t get sick!
- Coffee Maker Reservoirs - I had never thought about this but because it’s a dark, damp location, it’s a prime area for bacteria, mold, and mildew to grow. To clean, follow the manufacturers cleaning instructions. A common recommendation for most coffee makers is to clean by adding up to 4 cups undiluted vinegar to the reservoir, let stand 30 minutes, then run it through the unit. Follow up by running 2 to 3 cycles of fresh water through the unit until the vinegar smell is almost gone. Most manufacturers recommend cleaning every 40-80 brew cycles or monthly.
- Faucet Handles – Clean daily with disinfecting cleaner or wipes.
- Pet Toys – First of all, you should wash your hands after playing with your pet and toys. When the toys do get grubby, gently clean hard toys with hot soapy water, disinfect with a mild bleach solution, rinse extra good and dry. Soft toys can be tossed in the laundry on the hot water cycle monthly.
- Countertops – Of course these should be washed daily! A disinfectant or bleach/water mix should be used daily too.
- Stove Knobs – I knew they get dirty but I never thought of them as harboring germs. Once a week you should remove knobs, wash in hot soapy water, rinse and let dry.
- Cutting Boards – These should be washed in the dishwasher or in hot soapy water after each use, followed with a swipe or spritz of disinfectant or bleach/water solution. To be even safer, have a different color for produce and proteins. I have a couple of white ones and wrote (with a permanent marker) meat on one and produce on the other.
I spray hydrogen peroxide on my counters, cutting boards and sink for a quick and inexpensive disinfectant. I bought my bottle for $1.00, put a spray top on it and keep it under my sink (you always want to store it in an area that doesn’t get sun). Shake before using. Hydrogen peroxide has been approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency as an effective sanitizing agent. It can be used as a disinfecting agent to kill bacteria when sprayed onto cutting boards, counter tops, or other hard surfaces.
And here’s one that I never even thought about…your vacuum. According to studies at the University of Arizona, 100% of vacuum-cleaner brushes and powerheads are loaded with mold, and at least 51% of them test positive for fecal bacteria. Vacuuming can spread those germs from contaminated areas to cleaner spots. Spray the vacuum brushes with a disinfectant spray like Clorox or Lysol after every use.
So, now that I’m afraid to touch anything, I guess I’ll go clean my coffee pot and throw those cat bowls in the dishwasher! And then wash my hands.