10 Dirtiest Areas in Any Home

10 Dirtiest Areas in Any HomeIf you had to guess, you’d probably say that the bathroom is the dirtiest area in your home, right? While this room does have its share of ickiness, you should probably be more concerned with your kitchen.

At least that’s the finding of a recent study conducted by NSF International, a global public health and safety organization. Let’s explore the 10 dirtiest things hanging around your home and how to combat them.

  1. The Cutting Board

Veggies, meat, fish… what haven’t you used your cutting board for? Coliform bacteria was found on 18% of the boards tested by the NSF. This is the family of bacteria that calls E. coli and Salmonella kin.

So what can you do?

  • Have separate cutting boards for each type of food. Or at least have one you use just for meats.
  • Always wash them between uses. The dishwasher works, but if that’s not a luxury you have, hand wash in warm, soapy water.
  • Choose boards made from nonporous materials. If you use wood, choose a hardwood like maple.

Wood boards can be cleaned with white vinegar or lemon juice, which will help clean below the surface. Be sure to rinse with hot, soapy water.

  1. The Knobs on Your Stove

Food splatters while it’s cooking. We’ll adjust the temperature without washing or wiping our hands. But how often do we actually clean these guys? Probably not often, which makes them a great home for germs.

So what can you do?

Remove the knobs, wash them in hot soapy water and then rinse. Don’t you love an easy fix?

  1. Kitchen Counters

The Coliform Family is back. These bacteria were found on 30% of kitchen countertops tested by the NSF, but it’s not hard to see why.

It’s where you put your groceries before they go to their final home. You prep raw meat here and cut veggies. You may even put your purse down in here, and the bottom of that is one of the germiest things in the world.

So what can you do?

Well, unless you can remodel your home and choose smooth, non-porous materials, which harbor the least germs, you can do the next best thing and wash your countertops daily.

Use hot, soapy water and give them a good scrub. Then rinse. Once a month or so, you can even make a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 4 parts water) and give it an extra powerful clean.

If you have marble, granite or another specialty material, use the cleaning and sanitizing agents recommended by the manufacturer.

  1. Pet Toys

Fido loves them, but you might not want to play when you find out what they’re home to… coliform bacteria, yes, but also house yeast, mold and Staph bacteria. Not healthy for you or your pet.

So what can you do?

Always wash your hands after playing with your furbabies. Encourage your family to do the same.

Once a week, or once every few weeks, wash rubber and plastic toys in hot, soapy water. Run fabric toys through the washing machine on a hot cycle every couple of weeks.

  1. Faucet Handles

Before we wash our hands, they can be covered in all kinds of residue. When you turn on the tap to get them clean, you’re actually transferring that residue to the handle. Handles tested by the NSF were found to have coliform bacteria as well as yeast and/or mold.

So what can you do?

Include faucets and handles in your sink cleaning routine. If you want to be really sharp, take a second to wipe down the handle on your refrigerator, too. Even disinfecting wipes can do the trick.

  1. The Coffee Machine

You use it all the time and always wash the pot, so what gives? The water reservoir, actually. Half of coffee machines the NSF tested were positive for yeast and mold. That is not how you want to kickstart your day.

So what can you do?

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which often recommend cleaning every 40-80 brew cycles, or at least monthly.

Do a white vinegar flush about once a week. Add up to 4 cups of undiluted vinegar, let it sit for 30 minutes or so, and then run it through the machine. Two or three cycles of freshwater afterward should clear up any residual smell.

  1. Food Bowls

Not yours, Fido’s. You feed him and sometimes the food sits for hours. And sometimes Fido slobbers as he wolfs it down. This can make it a real breeding ground for germs, which isn’t so great for Fido’s health.

So what can you do?

Wash your pets’ food bowls every day. Either run it through the dishwasher or do it by hand in hot, soapy water, then rinse.

  1. The Toothbrush Holder

You rinse off your toothbrush when you’re done cleaning your teeth, but no matter how well you do, stuff winds up collecting in the holder. In fact, 27% of toothbrush holders tested by the NSF had coliform bacteria, while 14% had Staph. So much for clean teeth, we guess.

So what can you do?

Wash it with warm, soapy water and wipe with a disinfecting wipe 1–2 times a week. If you’re lucky, simply plop it in the dishwasher and let it run through a cycle.

You should also be replacing your toothbrush every 3­–4 months or when it looks worn out (that’s what the blue bristles are for, people!). Also toss brushes any sick person has used when their illness is over.

  1. The Kitchen Sink

You figure water’s always running your sink, so what can be in there? Well, 45% of sinks tested by the NSF were home to coliform bacteria. That’s because we put food scraps in there. The veggies and fruits we wash release dirt and bacteria. Some of us wash non-food items in our kitchen sink. But simple water isn’t enough to kill these germs.

So what can you do?

Wash your sink with a disinfecting cleaner once or twice a week. Pour a solution of 1 tsp. bleach mixed with 1 qt. water down the drain to sanitize it and your garbage disposal.

  1. Kitchen Sponge

Maybe you already knew this, but if you didn’t, you should probably replace all of your sponges as soon as you can. Over 75% of kitchen sponges and rags tested positive for coliform bacteria!

The problem with these guys is simply us. We use them to wipe almost everything, rarely clean them and leave them sitting with moisture trapped inside, which makes them the perfect home for bacteria.

So what can you do?

Clean and sanitize your sponge daily. All you need to do is zap it in the microwave for two minutes to kill bacteria.

Replace it every two weeks. Or simply switch to microfiber cloths that can be used and tossed in the washing machine.

And there you have it! The 10 dirtiest places in your home, and how to clean them.

1st Class Cleaning is NYC-based company that helps homeowners, apartment dwellers and all kinds of offices keep their spaces clean, healthy and tidy. We use only environmentally friendly cleaners. Contact us today for service and pricing information.

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