The 20 surprising places bacteria is lurking in your home

By Bob Fear

The 20 surprising places bacteria is lurking in your home

Where in your home is potentially harmful bacteria most likely to be found growing? Not always in the places you might think. We reveal the top twenty household items and surfaces where bacteria might be lurking…

Out of all the places in your home, you’re most likely to find bacteria growing in your kitchen. There could be more germs there than anywhere in your bathroom, including the toilet. Bacteria will thrive most wherever there’s moisture and nutrients, particularly from food, so it should be no surprise that dishcloths and sponges are the most preferred breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria.

Kitchen countertops, sinks and chopping boards are also ideal places for colonies of bacteria to get well established. They love a good nook or cranny to infest and will form a scarily robust film that protects them, even from a little rub of mild detergent.

How to easily kill that nasty bacteria

Bacteria can live for at least two days on a moist cloth or sponge, but only for a few hours on a dry surface. It’s tempting to whip out a disinfectant wipe to clean everything in your home, but a lot of these aren’t biodegradable and will only end up in landfill or swimming about in the ocean. A simple bleach solution should suffice, along with a set of cloths or rags that you can wash and reuse.

Heating wet sponges in the microwave for a couple of minutes should also kill most bacteria, but soaking them in warm water with a little squirt of bleach is most effective. Lastly, make sure everything is regularly cleaned and thoroughly dried - that will be your best ongoing defense.

Where else does bacteria thrive?

It’s a safe bet that a lot of handles throughout your home will be harbouring bacteria. Cooker knobs and fridge handles are high on the top twenty germ-ridden surfaces because of the likely combination of food and wet hands. More bacteria may be found here than on bathroom taps and door handles, and even toilet cistern handles are more likely to be breeding bacteria than toilet seats. It’s those dirty wet hands again!

Unsurprisingly, pet bowls and toys are also high on the list of bacteria hot spots in your home. But a few of the more unlikely contenders include pens, keys, money and toothbrush holders. It’s also quite disconcerting to learn that more bacteria is found on remote controls, videogame controls and computer keyboards than on toilet seats. And mobile phones carry only a marginally smaller amount of germs.

Unwashed produce, raw meat and poultry are the main sources of bacteria. It gets spread around the home by unwashed hands. Not washing your hands after going to the bathroom also spreads bacteria everywhere.

Top twenty most bacteria infested places in your home

  1. Dish cloth/sponge
  2. Kitchen sink
  3. Kitchen countertop
  4. Toothbrush holders
  5. Pet toy
  6. Pet bowl
  7. Chopping board
  8. Cooker knobs
  9. Pens
  10. Fridge handle
  11. Remote control
  12. Videogame control
  13. Bathroom taps
  14. Keys
  15. Toilet handle
  16. Keyboard
  17. Money
  18. Toilet seat
  19. Phone
  20. Wallet


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