Seems like everyone has a crazy schedule these days. Between work, school, kids, and family demands, there never seems to be enough time for domestic tasks — like cleaning. We tend to prioritize the areas of our homes that get the most clutter, like kitchens and living rooms. But if you really want to prioritize CLEAN, here are the areas of our home that are likely the most germ-ridden.
1. The Sponge
Yeah, you knew this was coming, didn’t you? Fact is, more than 75% of dish sponges and rags have coliform bacteria — a germ family that includes E. coli and Salmonella. Yuck! The quickest way to disinfect that sponge is to get it wet and put in the microwave for 2 minutes — preferably every day. Even then, you should replace every 2 weeks if not more frequently.
2. Fluffy’s Bowl
When was the last time you washed your pet dishes? One study actually found them to have an average of 473,828 per 10 sq. centimeters. You should really wash them every day with a sanitizing dishwasher setting or scrubbing by hand with hot water and soap. A bleach solution of 1:50 bleach/water is even better. (By the way, your pet’s bed is pretty germy too. Is it time to wash yours or get a new one?)
3. Toothbrush Holder
How often do you wash these things? Probably not often enough. In fact, this is rated as the 2nd germiest place in your house. Good thing many toothbrush holders are fine for the dishwasher. Run it thorough 1-2 times per week on a sanitize setting.
Your coffee machine is a big collector of household germs that can make you sick, with 50,585 micro-organisms per 10 sq. centimeters. Yeast and mold tend to grow there. To clean it, add 4 cups of white vinegar to the reservoir and just let it sit for about half an hour. Then turn on the machine and run the vinegar through a cycle. Afterward, run it 2 or 3 more times with plain water to “rinse” the vinegar out. Do this every 40 to 80 brew cycles, or at least once monthly.
5. Bath Towels
Think about this: bath towels get wet every day and dry slowly. That allows plenty of germs to build up day after day. And know what’s really concerning? 18% of bath towels in one study had MRSA on them. This is a a potentially dangerous bacteria. Protect yourself by making sure your towels can spread out while hanging to dry faster. Once towels have been used 3-4 times, run them through the laundry with hot water and put them in the dryer to kill any remaining germs.