Researchers have identified air blown from a running vacuum cleaner as one of the places in the home that has the highest numbers of germs. Other places include dish sponges, toothbrushes, cutting boards, washing machines, TV remote controls, bathroom toilets during a flush, kitchen sinks and indoor garbage cans.
The kitchen sponge is the germiest thing in your house. Microwaving a wet sponge for 2 minutes once per day will zap most of the germs. Other methods of disinfecting sponges include soaking them in bleach or lemon juice or washing in the dishwasher. Replace the sponges often (every two weeks or more as needed).
Rinsing with water is not enough to sanitize your kitchen sink and prevent the spread of bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. Try washing it with a solution of bleach and water to run down the drain. Remember to clean the drain plug, too. Then wash your hands.
The remote control’s surface is among the germiest household surfaces. It’s dropped on the floor, stuffed between the sofa cushions, coughed on and sneezed at. Microbiologists found that half of the remote controls tested were positive for cold viruses. To banish bacteria wipe the remote control with a bleach or alcohol wipe.
At least once a month, run a hot cycle with vinegar to clear out germs in the washing machine. Taking wet laundry out of the washer as soon as the cycle ends will help reduce the musty build up.
The garbage can also needs special attention. To clean your garbage can, cover the bottom with a light layer of baking powder. Swish the mixture around, wipe down the sides and rinse with water.
Many of the germs are harmless, although some are good for your health. Your hands transfer bacteria and viruses to your eyes, nose, and mouth. But you can help protect yourself by regular hand washing with soap and water.