With winter season upon us, and germs always being in abundance this time of year, these germ-ridding tips will help you keep those germy household places and objects clean, and keep your family healthy.
Germs are everywhere. They are silent, invisible, and lurk in places you might not think of. So where are the germiest places in your home? There is no one answer, but rather many, and some of them may surprise you.
Children’s toys have on average 345 bacteria per square inch, which is more than the average toilet seat, which has 295 bacteria per square inch.
Your pet’s food dish averages 2,110 bacteria per square inch, which is more than a baby changing mat, which averages 191 bacteria per square inch.
Surprised yet? Here are a few more areas that you might not expect to harbor such high numbers of bacteria.
A bathtub, near the drain has on average 119,468 bacteria per square inch, more than a garbage bin which averages 411 bacteria per square inch.
A kitchen sponge has 134,630 bacteria per square inch, which is more than a child’s potty training chair which has 191 bacteria per square inch.
Read on to find out more of the germiest places in your home, as well as the best ways to keep your home disinfected and keep those nasty germs at bay.
KITCHEN SPONGES – Sponges are one of the germiest items in our homes. The Hygiene Councel recommends replacing them often, and to help disinfect sponges between replacements, toss them in the dishwasher along with your dishes. The hot water will disinfect many of those germs.
BATHTUBS AND SHOWERS – DRAIN AREA – It seems contradictory for an area that you bathe in, to be one of the germiest areas in your home. That is because dead skin cells harbor germs. It is recommended that you disinfect your tubs and showers at least twice a week.
PET FOOD AND WATER DISHES – Many pet food dishes sit on the floor for extended amounts of time without ever even being rinsed, let alone truly scrubbed and disinfected. It is recommended that you regularly put your pet food dishes into the dishwasher, or wash and disinfect them by hand, at least twice a week, and preferably daily. Also remember to wash your hands before and after handling your pet’s food dishes.
TV REMOTE – Many of us never even think how many germs are lurking on our TV remote. 70 bacteria per square inch on average actually. For items like this, that shouldn’t be cleaned with water, it is recommended to put rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth or paper towel, making sure there are no drips, and wipe your remote regularly.
MICROWAVE TOUCH SCREEN – This is the dirtiest and germiest part of your microwave, harboring an average of 214 bacteria per square inch. Many germs accumulate after raw food has been placed in microwave, and then the touch screen programmed for cooking. The juices of any raw food, whether it be meat, produce, or dairy, all pose a risk of having and transferring E-coli or Salmonella. Be sure to disinfect your microwave’s touch screen after each use. (Ideally, avoid using the microwave all-together.)
Additional bacteria numbers, followed by recommended disinfecting techniques.
Toilet Bowl – 3.2 million bacteria per square inch
Kitchen Drain – 567,845 bacteria per square inch
Kitchen Faucets – 13,227 bacteria per square inch
Bathroom Sinks – 2,733 bacteria per square inch
Kitchen Floor (in front of sink) – 830 bacteria per square inch
Toilet Floor (in front of toilet) – 764 bacteria per square inch
Kitchen Counter Top – 488 bacteria per square inch
Bathroom Counter Top – 452 bacteria per square inch
Kitchen Phone – 133 bacteria per square inch
Toilet Flush Handle – 83 bacteria per square inch
Computer Keyboard – 64 bacteria per square inch
BEST WAYS TO DISINFECT
As mentioned above for disinfecting TV remote’s, for items that shouldn’t be cleaned with water or other liquid, dampen a soft cloth with rubbing alcohol, and gently wipe all surface areas. This would be recommended for all remotes, computer mouses, phones, and keyboards.
Another recommended way to disinfect items that shouldn’t be cleaned with a liquid product, is to spray them with a reputable disinfectant spray. Do not use disinfectant sprays on porous items.
For disinfecting clothes and linens during and after someone has been sick, wash items in hot water, and if bleach safe, add bleach to the wash load. It is not necessary to rinse in hot water. **** Do always remove freshly washed clothes as soon as possible, and either transfer into the dryer, or hang to dry. Bunched up wet clothes are a breeding ground for germs to grow.
For bleach safe non-porous countertops, appliances and toys, you don’t need an overly powerful solution for it to be effective. Even a weaker bleach solution is effective at disinfecting.
Heat also kills germs, and your dryer can be useful for disinfecting things quickly or for items that can’t or shouldn’t be washed at all, or too often. This is really good to do with pillows to kill germs effectively, without damaging your pillows. This is also great for disinfecting children’s stuffed animals, or even your pet’s stuffed toys.
For your children’s and pet’s squeak toys, toss them in your dishwasher, or soak them in a bucket with a weak bleach solution. Many plastic toys can be disinfected this way, without harming the toy. For wooden blocks and other wooden toys, spray them with a disinfecting spray and allow to fully dry, before allowing your child to play with them.
Bon Veggie Appetit!
Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews