Most of us do our best to keep household germs in check. But it’s important to be reminded of the dirtiest places where germs could be lurking. Why? So you can keep these germs at bay and prevent them from wreaking havoc on your family’s health.
Who in your family is especially at risk? Household germs are particularly dangerous to those with weak immune systems. That’s why it’s vital to keep children and the elderly free from contamination.
Before we talk about the top spots for germs, let’s consider the germs themselves. According to Healthline, the following are the most dangerous household germs:
- E. coli
- Fecal matter
You might think that the germs listed above are mostly lurking in your bathroom, since the bathroom is the prime spot for washing yourself and doing your business. However, the kitchen is actually the top breeding ground for household germs. Keep reading to discover some additional germ sources that may surprise you.
- Kitchen. According to a 2011 study conducted by NSF International, more than 75 percent of dish sponges and rags, 45 percent of kitchen sinks, 32 percent of counter tops and 18 percent of cutting boards contained coliform bacteria (a family of bacteria that includes Salmonella and E. coli). Remember that food prep surfaces are prime targets for germs. The coffee maker, stove knobs and refrigerator handle are also important areas to keep clean.
- Bathroom. The warm, moist environment of the bathroom is a perfect storm for germ activity. Of course, cleaning showers, tubs and toilets regularly is important. But don’t forget about the bath towels, faucet handle, toilet handle, light switch and toothbrush holder. The NSF International study found that 27 percent of toothbrush holders contained coliform bacteria.
- Playroom. Your kids’ playroom is full of germ-infested surfaces. Remember to clean toys, drawer handles and toy boxes regularly to keep kids healthy.
- Pet bowls and toys. While we love our pets, it’s important to remember how germy they can be, especially if they spend time outdoors. Wash pet bowls daily with warm, soapy water. Clean pet toys regularly, using hot, soapy water for hard toys and your washing machine for soft toys.
- Personal items. Your cell phone, car keys, lunch box and TV remote can harbor some serious germs. Disinfecting wipes can keep these items safe. Keep in mind that you may need to buy special cleaning supplies designed for electronics.
When cleaning your home, shared surfaces that people touch often present the biggest danger to your family. Since these places may seem small or insignificant, germs can sneak past your regular cleaning routine. When you’re ready to start cleaning a room, walk through a typical visit to that room, tackling the shared surfaces first. Disinfecting wipes are a great tool for spot cleaning hard surfaces. Also, teach your family about the importance of handwashing before and after any activity that involves contact with household germs.
To learn more about women’s health services, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.