There are good bacteria, and then there is the stuff that make you sick, like staph, salmonella, E. coli or fecal matter. The icky news is that your home is teeming with tonnes of bacteria that could get you down. Yes, your private sanctuary is also a germy horror show, and some of the contamination takes place in spots that you would not even think of. Read on to find out which are the grimiest bacteria-ridden hotspots that you need to tackle with bleach and disinfectant right now.
With so much cleaning up that is going on in the kitchen, you would think that it should rank high as the most spotless area in the house. Surprise, surprise. Turns out, the kitchen may well be the best hiding hole for bacteria. That’s because food, especially raw poultry and red meat, are the worst “carriers”. The problem is made worse because of all the food preparation that goes on. You’re handling the raw meat and touching appliances, the refrigerator and counter surfaces as you go along, which means a lot of cross-contamination is taking place.
The kitchen sink is a real breeding ground for bacteria, no thanks to food particles rinsed off from dirty dishes or lodged in the drain. The worst offender, however, is hands down the kitchen sponge. Whether it’s one that you use for scrubbing countertops and vegetables or for doing the dishes, this is an item that could be harbouring nasty infection-causing bacteria like salmonella or E. coli.
What to do:
– Good food prep hygiene is key. Don’t cut vegetables on a chopping board that you’ve used for raw meat. Wash your hands after handling raw meat and before you touch countertops, fridge handles and other kitchen surfaces.
– Scrub down countertops, the fridge and appliances a few times a week with disinfectant wipes, and change dish towels often.
– Clean your sink with a bleach and water solution at least two to three times a week, and don’t forget to clean the drain plug as well.
– Replace sponges often and in between, soak them in a bleach solution for a few minutes, at least two to three times a week.
– Salt and pepper shakers, condiment containers and anything that is handled by unwittingly grubby hands on a regular basis should also be wiped down regularly.
This is where you scrub dirt and grime off yourself, and take hot, relaxing showers to wash off the stresses of the day. With all that moisture, the bathroom is a hotbed for bacteria growth. Fecal matter and fungi feature most regularly in this cosy space, so it’s definitely a good idea to pay attention here.
What to do:
– If you have a bathtub, disinfect with bleach or a specialised cleaner at least once a week, before drying the tub with a clean towel. Whirlpool tubs or jacuzzis could well be spouting germ-infested water because bacteria multiplies where water gets lodged in the pipes. The only solution is to clean the pipes themselves.
– Keep toothbrushes away from the toilet bowl, and practise closing the toilet bowl before you flush if you have a tiny bathroom. You also want your toothbrush in a spot where it can dry out after each use, and to replace them every three to four months.
– Hang bathroom rugs up to dry after a shower or bath. Rugs should also not be lining the floor around the toilet bowl — keep them at least a few steps away.
It’s inevitable. You know the laundry is done but you would just like to relax a little more before taking the load out of the washing machine and hanging them up to dry. However, the warm, moist environment is bacteria heaven so even leaving wet laundry in the machine for a mere 30 minutes could encourage them to flourish.
What to do:
– Run an empty wash cycle with a bleach solution every four to six months to prevent mildew and and any funky build-up. Don’t forget to remove the detergent drawer for a good cleaning too — scrub it out with an old toothbrush to reach every nook and cranny.
– Don’t leave wet laundry in the machine and definitely not overnight. If it happens, you might want to consider running a second cycle.
– Don’t use the same baskets for clean and dirty laundry. Wipe baskets down with disinfectant wipes regularly.