As we enter in to the cold and flu season it seems that our focus turns to bacteria and viruses and how we can possibly keep ourselves healthy and avoid that annoying cold or debilitating flu. Here we look at some of the most contaminated objects in the average home and what you can do to keep them clean to prevent germs being spread. You’ll be surprised at some of the things on the list…
More often than not people would think that areas like bins or toilets would be the places which harbour most germs in the home. This is, however, not the case. According to Ideal Home the room in your home which has the most germ-ridden objects is your kitchen with 6 out of the top 10 dirtiest objects in the home, these being:
Dish sponges and dishcloths at the very top of the list, sinks coming in second and Coffee Makers, Kitchen Counters, oven knobs and cutting boards coming in at 5, 8, 9 and 10 respectively.
The rest of the top 10 consist of, scarily, toothbrush holders at 3, pet bowls at 4, bathroom taps at 6 and pet toys at 7.
Good housekeeping expands on this list and highlights that it is the high touch areas which are also a potential breeding ground for germs. This includes things such as light switches, TV remotes, tablets and laptop screens. They go on to add that, surprisingly, carpets and other soft furnishings such as bedding and sofas, which have a lot of dust in them also contain much of the bacteria found in an average household. Add to this pet beds and even your daily handbag and you quickly realise that no place in the home is truly safe from germs and it is the most innocuous items which are the dirtiest because they are touched a lot.
So how do we keep these items as clean as possible?
Sponges and dishcloths
Wash these with warm soapy water directly after use and soak them in a disinfectant solution for 15 minutes to kill the germs. After disinfecting them wring them out and allow them to dry. If they start to look a little jaded throw them away and use a new one.
Kitchen Sink, surfaces and hobs
Kitchen sinks, surfaces and hobs often only get a quick rinse with warm water to give them a clean, but this is a haven for germs. The sink should be cleaned with a good anti-bacterial cleaner twice a week. Give the sink a good spray and leave the cleaner working its magic for 10 mins and then rinse.
It might come as a surprise to know that toothbrushes and toothbrush holders are amongst the most germ ridden items in your home. It is recommended to rinse your toothbrush in warm water after use or let it soak in some mouthwash for a while. Don’t leave it in too long or the bristles will suffer. You should ideally replace your toothbrush every 3 months.
Electronics and switches
Obviously these are sensitive items and you do not want to damage them whilst trying to keep them clean. To clean electronic items such as remote controls, tablets, laptops, light switches etc use a finely woven microfibre cloth sprayed very lightly with anti-bacterial cleaner. Ensure you clean well between the buttons but make sure you do not soak the cloth in cleaner.
Carpets and soft furnishings
We all vacuum our carpets regularly but how often do we vacuum our sofas and mattresses? Make sure you add these to your regular cleaning regime to remove the dust, dead skin cells and the bacteria contained in it. You should consider cleaning your carpet with a good carpet cleaning solution every few months to keep it nice and clean. Put a mattress protector over your mattress and wash it regularly to protect your mattress.
Pet beds and towels
Ensure that these are washed regularly at a high temperature, you could consider adding an anti-bacterial agent such as Zoflora to your wash to give it some extra zap to kill those germs.
It is important that you wash your hands regularly to prevent germs being spread around your home. Our hands come into contact with all sorts on a daily basis from raw food to the inside of bins to handrails and door handles to name a few. By washing your hands regularly and drying them properly you can minimise the spread of germs
Clearly no home will be 100% free from bacteria and a totally sterile home would actually be unhealthy as we need germs to maintain our immune system, but with a good understanding of which items carry the most germs and a reasonable cleaning program you can go a long way to help fend off the winter cold and flu.