If you’re thirsty, the first place you go for a glass of water isn’t the toilet. The reality? It’s probably cleaner than the faucet in your home.
For starters, it probably gets disinfected more than other items in the home. Meaning, there’s a strong potential for a plethora of bacterial threats lurking throughout your home. A majority of these are unavoidable as you live your day-to-day. The good news? If you’re the proud owner of a bright, shiny new home, you get the benefit of squeaky clean appliances.
Without further ado, here is a list of your home’s dirtiest items. Side note: you better set aside a few extra hours for scrubbing. We included some cleaning tips to help ease any anxiety this post induces.
Dead skin cells are the grade-a beef for bacteria. And we shed about 1.5 million every hour. Combine it with the food particles, pet dander, pollen, and other tasty bits? That’s a Michelin-star restaurant fine dining experience for the nearly 200,000 types of bacteria living in every square inch of your carpet. Which is more than 700 times your toilet seat. This is even worse if you wear shoes. You could be bringing in E-Coli bacteria, which causes major stomach issues.
Cleaning tip: Invest in a good vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Vacuum your carpets at a minimum of three times a week. Hire a professional cleaning service at least once every 6 months. Take your shoes off at the front door.
Your Faucet Handles
Bacteria thrive in wet areas. As a distributor of water, your faucet handles offer prime living conditions. Experts say the number of bacteria varies from area to area. For example, a bathroom can have 21 times the bacteria of your toilet seat. However, a kitchen faucet handle, which has the added element of food particles, harbors 44 times the bacteria of your toilet seat.
Cleaning tip: When cleaning your sink daily, make sure to disinfect and clean the handle. Make sure to wash your hands before cleaning.
Did we mention bacteria thrive in wet areas? Your sink, especially the kitchen, is a haven for bacteria. Consider the food particles leaving a trail of bacteria traveling from your dirty plates and hands. Don’t even get us started on the kitchen sponges and towels. Some say a single centimeter on one of these cleaning items has seven-times the population of people on earth.
Cleaning tip: Always keep your sink free of debris. Clean out and put leftovers directly in the garbage or a compost (if you’re more earth-friendly). After every meal makes sure to rinse the sink with dish washing liquid. And then follow-up with a sanitation with bleach. Toss out your sponge every week. Don’t wash it in the dishwasher. this could only increase the number of bacteria.
Your Clean Laundry
Your dirty laundry often is a lot dirtier after you wash it. If you mix in your underwear, which transfers at least 100 million E. coli bacteria, your clothes become a breeding ground for contamination. Many people rely on the detergent to get rid of the dirt and germs. But if you’re not using bleach or very hot water — between 140 and 150 degrees — you’re not killing bacteria. On the other hand, your toilet seat is not wet enough to support this large population of bacteria.
Cleaning tip: Wash a load of whites with bleach before your load of colors. Clean your washer with bleach at a minimum of once per month. Pour two cups of bleach into the detergent compartment and run empty on the hottest cycle. Wipe completely dry once complete, and leave the door open afterward. Always wash your undergarments separate from your main load with a color-safe bleach alternative.
Your TV Remote
Dirty hands. Baby drool. Chip crumbs. We could go on, but it probably wouldn’t surprise you to know your remote control is germy. Anything you have on your hands before, or while surfing the channels collects grime stuck in the various nooks and crannies. Not to mention even when not in use it sits and collects dust just existing on your couch.
Cleaning tip: Wipe down you remote with dish soap or antiseptic wipes. Get between the buttons. Stop eating in front of the television. Read more about the importance of sit-down, family meals.
Your Door Handles
Door handle bacteria is so popular it even has its own Wikipedia page. Experts say the main culprit is from how we wash our hands. Researchers found only 5 percent of people who use the bathroom wash their hands properly enough to kill illness-causing bacteria. A study by a private research facility in Massachusetts found on average around 1,323 bacterial colonies live on door handles. The difference between doors and knobs are relevant since bacteria like wet and humid surroundings. Door handles are usually made of metal, while knobs are made of wood. Wood retains dampness for a longer time for ideal conditions for bacteria to thrive. In short? Doors provide the ideal environment for bacteria to easily spread, gather, and create colonies.
Cleaning tip: Frequently wipe down your home’s doors and nobs with antibacterial wipes. Use this guide from the Mayo Clinic for properly washing your hands.
Your Bath Towels
Dirty wet towels are prone to carrying a huge variety of microbes, which in past studies even linked to spreading infectious disease. Towels offer ideal living conditions for bacteria because every time you use a towel, you transfer natural skin bacteria and any other germs, on this surface. Mix this with the damp, warm, absorbent, dark environment of a bathroom. You can’t keep towels 100 percent germ free, but there are ways to keep them cleaner than a toilet seat.
Cleaning tip: Change out your towels often and wash in extra hot water to kill the germs. Or, toss out the towels and go with paper towels instead. But who really wants to use the equivalent of sand paper to dry off after a relaxing bath?
Unless you live in a plastic bubble, encountering germs is inevitable. Luckily, by sticking to a cleaning regime like the above cleaning tips, your toilet seat can gain back the title of grossest place in your home. Along with your teenage son’s bedroom. There’s really no way around that.
Is cleanliness something you value most as a homeowner? Do you have any tips and tricks to add to this list? We would love to hear from you! Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments section below.
Interested in hearing about the germ-free benefits that come with owning a new home? Reach out today to one of our customer care specialists to learn more!