As clean as we try to keep our homes, there are prime areas for harmful bacteria to grow which can weaken our immune system and make us sick. Here are some common areas in our homes where bacteria thrive and how to avoid it.
Your kitchen sink can surprisingly be more germ filled than your toilet. Food particles from plates left to soak or rinsed from dishes on their way to the dishwasher can serve as a breeding ground for illness-causing bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. They can get on your hands or spread to foods. It’s recommended to clean your sink and drain plug once a day with a mixture of bleach and water. Your first thought might be “who has time for that” but by keeping an already prepared mixture in a spray bottle nearby-you can easily make this part of your routine at the end of the day.
Your salt and pepper shaker is another breeding ground for germs. We grab it to season our food while cooking or at the table but no one thinks to wash their hands before doing so. Eliminate any germs left behind by wiping them clean when you clear the table after dinner.
Your toothbrush is another place that moisture loving bacteria like to hang out. Putting your toothbrush somewhere that it can air dry will avoid this. Don’t store it too close to the toilet though. Research done in the 1970s found that flushing the toilet sends a spray of bacteria- and virus-contaminated water droplets into the air. These germs can float around in the bathroom for at least two hours after each flush before landing on surfaces — including your toothbrush. Close the toilet lid before flushing and replace your toothbrush often to lower your contamination risk.
It shouldn’t be surprising that your TV remote is another big source of germs.
After all, everyone in the house touches it and who thinks to wash their hands before or after touching the remote? Cleaning it routinely with the same bleach/water mixture mentioned early or an alcohol wipe will eliminate germs and stop them from infecting everyone in the house.
Another source of germs is your computer keyboard and mouse because it’s another place we don’t think about washing our hands before using. More germs are added if we are eating or drinking near our computers. In a study done by a British consumer group, researchers swabbed keyboards for germs and found a host of potentially harmful bacteria, including E. coli and staph. Four of 33 sampled keyboards had enough germs to be considered health hazards and one had levels of germs five times higher than that found on a toilet seat! Cleaning your keyboard with a bleach or alcohol wipe periodically will kill any germs and keep harmful bacteria from growing.
When we take a bath to get clean we may not be doing it in the cleanest area. One study found staphylococcus bacteria in 26% of the tubs tested. Another study had even worse findings for whirlpool tubs. Forty-three water samples from whirlpools were tested and all 43 had mild to dangerous bacterial growth. Almost all showed bacteria from fecal matter; 81% had fungi, and 34% contained staph bacteria. The reason whirlpool tubs are so dirty has to do with the lining of the pipes. Water tends to get trapped in the pipes which becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. When you turn on the jets, the germy water spouts out into the tub where you’re soaking. Cleaning and disinfecting your tub with bleach or bathroom cleaner after bathing and drying it with a clean towel will cut down on bacteria growth.
For whirlpool tubs, the best way to prevent bacteria from accumulating is to clean out the pipes before use. It’s not very practical since you’d have to fill the tub with a bleach solution, run the jets, empty it, then refill it and run the jets to rinse the bleach out, empty it and finally refill to soak in the tub. Unfortunately, the pipes are a breeding ground for germs.
So there you have it, as clean as you think your home is, there are still germs and bacteria lurking if you don’t already routinely clean these areas of your home. Routinely cleaning these areas will keep germs from spreading and bacteria from bogging down your immune system.