Byron R. Ford, Jr's Blog
Regardless of how clean your home looks, and how often you use the disinfectant wipe, those sneaky little germs still hide in your home. Of course, some surfaces always have germs simply because multiple people handle them throughout the day. These include faucets, outlets, and switch-plate covers, doorknobs and stair railings. You know to wipe these down, especially in cold and 'flu' season.
No matter how clean you are, though, some germs, fungi or bacteria hide in unsuspected places. A study by NSF International (an independent public health organization) points to dangerous Salmonella, Coliform, E. coli, and even human fecal matter on innocent-appearing surfaces in the average home. Other studies revealed Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus, and even streptococcus hiding in plain sight. When you’re making up your housekeeping to-do list, consider giving these items special attention to root out the nasty bugs hiding in your house:
- Toothbrushes and toothbrush holder: If your toothbrush holder sets on the bathroom counter, microscopic droplets can land on it after every toilet flush, depositing bacteria and yeast fungi. The NSF study also showed toothbrush holders harbor mold too.
- Hand and bath towels: Surveys show most people do not change their hand or bath towels as often as they should. Testing reveals towels harbor E. coli after only two days.
- Lavatory faucet handles: Just think about it, you use the restroom, then touch the fixture with your dirty hands. Even after you wash them, if you use your hands to turn off the faucet you just re-deposit the germs back onto your hands. Lever-style faucets allow you to turn them off with an elbow or arm, but for the best option, think about installing hands-free faucets.
- Kitchen sink: One of the most essential surfaces in your home, the kitchen sink harbors both mold and bacteria. For best results, disinfect your sink and garbage disposal two to three times each week.
- Dish sponges or rags: When you use a cloth or sponge, you might just be wiping more germs back onto the surface than you remove. Change dishcloths frequently and clean sponges in the dishwasher or microwave.
- Countertops: (see above)
- Cutting boards: Food particles remain on wood or bamboo cutting boards, and any boards that develop grooves. Always wash off cutting boards, and periodically clean them with disinfectant or a bleach solution.
- Tea or coffee maker: Most avid coffee or tea-drinkers clean the carafe between brews, but germs can hide in and around the basket holding the grounds or drip/espresso mechanisms. If water sits in a reservoir, it can breed germs too. Periodically run a mild bleach solution (1 ounce of bleach to 1 gallon of water) through your brewing machines.
- Pet bowls: No matter what myth you've heard about dogs' mouths having fewer germs than humans, a pet's dish can test positive for salmonella and E. coli even if you cleaned it in the dishwasher.
We live with germs all the time, but sometimes we don’t notice them or the odors they carry. If you’re preparing your home for sale, consider hiring a professional house cleaner to give your home the best showing.