Sorry, germaphobes: scientists estimate that up to a trillion bacteria can be living on the human body at any given point in time. While that idea is gross enough as it is, what’s ickier yet is that we’re also exposing ourselves to millions, if not billions, of additional bacteria on a daily basis. Unfortunately, despite what you might think, it’s not just germy children and un-mopped floors that are riddled with bacteria. In fact, some seemingly innocuous parts of your home could be teeming with bacteria, completely unbeknownst to you. Worse yet, those bacteria could lead to serious infection if you’re not careful. Before you put your health and the health of your family at risk, discover where the germs in your house are lurking and get rid of them before they have a chance to do you harm. Keep reading to find out what’s really dirty in your home, and where to look.
The handle of your toilet is one of the worst offenders when it comes to harboring germs. While it’s unlikely that any part of your bathroom is completely germ-free, the handle of your toilet tends to come in contact with dirty hands all day long, making it a haven for bacteria. To minimize your risk of getting sick from exposure to said bacteria, make sure you wipe down the handle with an antibacterial cleaner (preferably at least once a day), or do your best to flush using your foot, your elbow, or a tissue. Luckily, since it’s such a small part of your home, it’s hardly a hassle to clean, but it getting those unwanted bacteria off there could save you a few sick days in the long run.
It’s common practice to throw away food if it falls on the floor, but there are a shocking number of people who will still eat a piece of lettuce or pasta that’s fallen in the sink. We have some advice for you: don’t. In fact, your kitchen sink might just be the dirtiest part of your entire home. Think of all the things you do in your sink: you wash the dirt off fruits and vegetables, you rinse cutting boards after trimming raw meat, you rinse that grime that’s on your dishes into the sink, and, if you’re like some people, you may even bathe your kids in there. This means that your kitchen sink is likely to be crawling with bacteria at any given time. To keep it clean (and maintain your peace of mind in the process), use a bleach-based cleanser to knock out any bad bacteria that might be lingering. If you want to take a more natural approach, a combination of white vinegar, tea tree oil, and water can help fend off any nasty bacteria, as well.
Your computer is probably touched by you for hours every single day, but odds are you’re not cleaning it nearly as frequently as other parts of your home. Spoiler alert: you really should be. Not only are your not-exactly-bacteria-free hands touching your computer all day long, you’re also dropping dead skin cells into all those crevices between keys at an alarming rate. The result? Your computer is crawling with bacteria. In fact, some research suggests that the average keyboard is dirtier than a toilet seat. Can you say yuck? To keep it cleaner, use a compressed air cleaner between the keys on a regular basis and wipe it down with an electronics-safe cleaner at least once a week.
Your cell phone comes in contact with so many dirty things on a daily basis that it’s no wonder it’s crawling with bacteria. You touch your phone, you set it on counters, you put it up to your face, and you throw it in your bag, all of which are increasing the number of bacteria carried on it by the second. Since your phone comes in contact with your face on such a regular basis, it’s imperative that you give it a thorough wipe-down with an electronics-approved cleaner at least once a week.
The very place you lay your head for eight hours a night could be the culprit behind those recurring illnesses. Your pillow gets exposed to everything from your hair to skin cells to your saliva, making it a haven for all kinds of bacteria. The good news? You can protect yourself easily. Use an antimicrobial, waterproof pillow liner underneath your pillow case or sham, and make sure to wash the top protective layer on your pillow at least once a week. In the meantime, turn your pillow over each night.
While it’s unlikely that we’ll ever live in a world free of germs, there are plenty of steps you can take to keep yourself healthy. Locating and tackling the dirtiest parts of your home is the first step toward a longer, healthier life and a cleaner home, as well. Before you spend another minute applying hand sanitizer or praying you don’t catch the flu from a co-worker, stop the germs at their source by knowing what’s really dirty in your home. A germ-free home is well within your reach. What are you waiting for? Get cleaning!