Spring cleaning: Don't overlook these germ-filled spots in your home


You probably think you keep a pretty clean house. ­­You sweep your floors, wipe down your kitchen and bathroom surfaces regularly and maybe even do some dusting occasionally. But the truth is that most homes are filled with bacteria, and often in places you’d never expect. 

More than 340 different types of bacteria are usually found on household items, ranging from yeast and mold to salmonella and fecal matter. The most bacteria-filled area in your house is most likely the place where you prepare and store your food: your kitchen. But you’d be surprised where other germs hide. 

Here are the unexpected places in your home that can harbor harmful bacteria.

Dish rags and sponges
More than 75 percent of dish sponges and rags contain salmonella, E. coli and fecal matter. What’s more, 86 percent contain yeast and mold. That might be enough to make you throw out every dish rag and sponge you own and buy new ones. But even if you don’t, remember to microwave wet sponges for two minutes every day and replace them every two weeks, and throw rags into a hot washing cycle every day or two.

Door handles and knobs
Depending on whether people in your home consistently wash their hands, handles and knobs can be breeding grounds for bacteria, and they’re often easily overlooked. And not just doorknobs — light switches, refrigerator handles, stove knobs and microwave handles all tend to be covered in bacteria. Keep them clean by dampening a microfiber cloth with cleaning product and wiping them down during your regular cleaning routine.

Take a peek inside your fridge. Do you see sticky takeout containers? Long-forgotten leftovers? Food juice leaking out of “sealed” containers? Your refrigerator, which contains bacteria and is accessed daily by unwashed hands, must be cleaned regularly to stay safe. Use hot water and dishwashing liquid to clean the shelves and doors.

Remote control
The remote control is one of the most-touched items in the house, yet it’s rarely on the list of things to sanitize. Use a disinfectant wipe to clean your remote a few times a week.

The inside of your toothbrush container
Like every item in your bathroom, your toothbrush container is positioned near the toilet, which sprays fecal debris every time you flush it. The problem is, this item holds the toothbrush you put in your mouth daily. To keep it clean, toss it in the dishwasher twice a week.

If you have more questions about how you can keep your house germ-free, contact a primary care provider with Goshen Health.