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Common household germ carriers

While most people strive to keep their toilets clean and germ-free, items that we use every day such as keyboards, video game/ TV remotes and cell phones rarely get the cleaning attention they deserve. Let’s take a look at some seemingly “clean” household items that are actually home to more germs than your toilet seat:

Sponge
It would only make sense that the thing we use to clean the germs off other household items would be a major carrier of bacteria. Many experts consider sponges to be the No. 1 source of germs in the entire house.

The average sponge can carry upward of 10 million bacteria per square inch, around a quarter of a million times more than your average toilet seat. This major kitchen hygiene problem is exacerbated by the fact that most people will wait weeks before switching out their sponge. When’s the last time you switched up your sponge? If you do find yourself having to use a sponge that you fear may be carrying a host of germs, throw it in the microwave to zap away some of its bacteria, but it won’t work on all.

Kitchen Sinks
While most of us consider our bathrooms to be the area of our house hiding the most germs, it’s actually our kitchens we should be worrying about. Similar to sponges, kitchen sinks are home to more germs than any other area of a bathroom, including the toilet seat. Results of the 2011 NSF International Household Germ Study revealed that 45 percent of kitchen sinks are home to Coliform bacteria, including Salmonella and E.coli. This family of bacteria was also found on 32 percent of kitchen counter-tops and 18 percent of cutting boards.

Video Game/TV Remotes
Combine teenagers who forget to wash their hands every once in a while with the fact that the majority of their time will be spent either playing video games or watching TV, and you have a recipe for disaster. Researchers from UNICEF and Unilever combined efforts to compare the cleanliness of an average household’s TV remote and video game controller against a toilet seat. While TV remotes carried an average of 1,600 bacteria per 100 square centimeters and video game controllers 7,863 per 100 square centimeters, toilet seats are home to an average of 1,600 bacteria per 100 square centimeters.

Doorknobs and Handles
People touch doorknobs and handles, like the refrigerator handle all the time. Bacteria can spread if someone is sick, did not wash their hands after using the restroom, or handled raw meat. To prevent germs spreading, wash your hands often and make sure your family does the same, clean doorknobs and the refrigerator handle regularly using a clean cloth soaked in a solution of chlorine bleach and water.

Toothbrushes
Toothbrushes can become contaminated with bacteria, blood, saliva, and oral debris. Ensure not to share toothbrushes, replace toothbrushes every three months or sooner if the bristles appear worn or damaged, store toothbrush in an upright position after rinsing it so that water will drain away from the bristles.

Keyboards
Keyboards are a common place where germs get transferred from person to person. Microbiologist Charles Gerba, in a study counted bacteria on different surfaces found in offices and homes. The study found that public toilet seats had an average of 49 germs per square inch. Germ counts on computer keyboards were over 60 times higher, averaging 3,295 bacteria per square inch! When you think about it, this number is not so shocking. Keyboards are rarely cleaned while toilet seats are regularly cleaned with strong disinfectants to kill germs. What you can do: Clean your keyboard daily with a disinfectant wipe.



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