Even the most meticulous clean freak will be surprised to learn the common germ-breeding, health-threatening spots in the home. And don’t even cut your eyes at the toilet seat. According to a number of researchers, the commode doesn’t even make the short list of biggest offenders.
Even if you’re not one of those folks who obsess over maintaining a spotless home, it is important to keep the trouble spots in mind. Ignoring those breeding grounds for germs can foster an environment where your family is more likely to fall ill.
Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli sicken about 48 million Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Think you're safe at home? Think again. The CDC found 21 percent of foodborne illness outbreaks with a known origin occurred at people's homes. Forty-eight percent stemmed from eating in a restaurant.
Now that we’ve piqued your interest, there’s no need to play hide and seek. Don’t wait for spring cleaning to give the following areas a once – or twice – over during your next cleaning spree.
Surprising Places for Germs
Beyond the sink, there are other places in the kitchen that are hotbeds for bacterial growth. This finding comes from NSF International, a global public health and safety organization. “Warm, moist places are breeding grounds for germs,” says Rob Donofrio, Ph.D, director of NSF International’s Applied Research Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Donofrio cites the cutting board as a potential harbinger of germs. It is used to cut vegetables, meat and fish. One solution is to use separate cutting boards for different foods. Certainly wash them between uses. If you have a wood cutting board, use white vinegar or lemon juice to get into the cracks and clean below the surface. Then rinse it with hot soapy water.
Another place commonly overlooked for regular cleaning are the knobs on the stove, catch-alls for food splatters. Remove them and clean them with hot water and dishwashing soap. Kitchen countertops are home to grocery bags, unwashed produce and handbags. Clean countertops at least once a day with hot, soapy water. Once a month, get busy on countertops with a solution of one part bleach to four parts water.
Also needing to be cleaned are faucet handles and refrigerator handles that can contain coliform bacteria, as well as yeast and mold. According to www.bhg.com, twist the faucet aerator counter-clockwise and soak it in vinegar for 15 minutes every two months. Gently brush all the parts with a toothbrush to remove the remaining residue before screwing it back on.