Germs are everywhere. They thrive on our skin, on our clothes and everyday objects. They’re in our bathrooms, our living rooms, in the very air we breathe. But the germiest thing in our homes is not what you’d expect. It’s not your cellphone, your keyboard or your toilet seat. It’s the humble washing sponge, used to clean your dishes.
The germiest place
The media has tried to shock people with statistics about how dirty some of the things we use on a daily basis can be. The top five list of the dirtiest objects in any home contains items like door knobs, electronics, your ceiling fan or even your toothbrush.
The washing sponge, in turn, might sound like an unlikely candidate. It’s something used on a daily basis to clean other items and constantly soaked in dishwasher fluid, which is supposed to dissolve fats and kill germs. But a 2012 study has found that your kitchen is the germiest place in your home, and your utensils are among the germiest things in your home.
The germiest items
Kitchen sponges and cloths have been found to be the dirtiest (germiest) items in our homes. But they are far from being the only dangers. Bathroom seals, fridge interiors and kitchen towels were also among the germiest items.
But don’t think that your bathroom and your kitchen are the only places with a huge germ concentration.
Your cell phone is one of the germiest things you carry around day by day. Just think of it: you either push and swipe on it for hours, and you keep it close to your mouth very often. It gathers all the germs from your hands and your mouth on it. And it’s not an item you routinely disinfect. This results in your phone being about 10 times as germy as a toilet seat.
Your keyboard is another item you forget to disinfect. In fact, you should disinfect it often, as it has been shown to be home to five times as many germs as a toilet seat. The keyboard comes in contact with your hand quite often, and you seldom wash your hands after typing. This means that any germs you might collect while typing can easily be transferred to your food, and get inside your body.
The toilet seat?!
The toilet seat is perceived as the germiest, dirtiest place in your home. All the germiest things above are compared to it. In fact, it’s not the main dwelling place for bacteria – actually, it’s among the cleanest places you can think of.
In a test performed on a variety of items and surfaces in a public bathroom at ABC News, the toilet seat was found to be the cleanest. The germiest one of them all was the floor, as you might expect. But other bathroom items, such as the sanitary napkin disposal, have also failed their tests.
How to keep your house germ-free?
Germ-free? You can’t. But you can reduce the number of possibly harmful microbes to a minimum with a rigorous cleaning routine.
Keep your kitchen surfaces tidy, and disinfect them periodically using bleach or a commercial antibacterial cleanser. Change your washing sponge or cloth often (once every two weeks, for example) or disinfect them in the microwave. Scrub and disinfect your cutting boards regularly. Change your toothbrush often, clean and disinfect your phone, and keep your keyboard clean by blowing it out and wiping it with an antibacterial cloth.