Bacteria Lurking: What Parts of Your Home Need the Most Attention

Bacteria Lurking: What Parts of Your Home Need the Most Attention

Check out these tips to properly clean your home to keep your family safe from germs and bacteria.

By: Amanda Formaro

We don't want to start a panic, so let's start off by saying that it’s perfectly acceptable to have some germs in your home. It's unavoidable, really. Germs and bacteria are all around you, and, believe it or not, they actually make our immune systems stronger.

There are, however, certain areas of your home that actually house more bacteria than others — bacteria that can be harmful if levels are not kept in check with regular cleaning.

You've probably already guessed that the bathroom is one of the biggest culprits, but does it surprise you that the kitchen is actually higher on the list? People are more apt to disinfect areas of their bathroom and not the kitchen due to the nature of its use. Therein lies the potential problem.

The Kitchen and Eating Areas
The kitchen is where most family members congregate, touching all areas, cabinets, faucets and appliance handles. Raw meat is handled here, which can carry dangerous bacteria as well. You don't even want to know what microscopic nasties can enter your home on the bottoms of your family's shoes and get trekked across your kitchen floor. To keep bacteria from lurking around, try some of these suggestions:

  • Scrape food from dishes and rinse well in warm water, as food sitting on plates can harbor bacteria.
  • Use paper towels and an antibacterial cleanser to clean spills, and choose an antimicrobial sponge to wash dishes.
  • Damp cellulose sponges should be heated in the microwave for two minutes every few days to kill any lingering germs and should be replaced every two weeks. (You could run them through the dishwasher.)
  • Clean the floor at least once a week with disinfectant cleaner.
  • Do not defrost frozen meats or poultry on the counter or in the sink, only in the refrigerator or microwave.
  • Use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables, and be sure to disinfect whichever type of cutting board you use appropriately.
  • Don't put your purse on the kitchen counter. Twenty-five percent of purses harbor fecal bacteria on the bottom due to being placed on the floor in public bathrooms.
  • Use antibacterial cleaner twice a week to wipe down cabinets and handles, kitchen appliances (like your microwave touchpad and refrigerator door handle), and small appliances like your coffee pot and toaster.
  • Use bleach cleaner daily to wipe down kitchen countertops, the faucet, in and around the drain, and the entire surface of your sink.
  • Wipe down trash can(s) with antibacterial wipes two or three times per week.
  • Regularly wipe the salt and peppershakers clean — after every meal, ideally.

The Bathroom

  • Wipe down toilet seat, lid and bowl daily with antibacterial cleaning wipes.
  • Disinfect in and out of the toilet, as well as the floor around the toilet at least once a week.
  • Use antibacterial cleaner twice a week to wipe down bathroom cabinets and handles, bathroom countertops, the faucet, and the entire surface of your sink.
  • Mop floor with disinfectant cleaner weekly.
  • Routinely change out bathroom towels and hand towels used on a regular basis.
  • Use shower/tub cleaner to clean all surfaces of the shower and bathtub weekly.
  • Wipe down trash can(s) with antibacterial wipes two or three times per week.
  • Keep toothbrushes stored far away from the toilet, preferably inside a cabinet to avoid bacteria that is spread from the invisible spray that comes out of your toilet bowl when flushed. Regularly wash your toothbrush holder.
  • Close the toilet lid before flushing.

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Living Areas
Use antibacterial cleaning wipes to wipe down commonly used items such as:

  • Television remote control
  • Telephone
  • Computer keyboard and mouse
  • Toys
  • Highchair and training potty
  • Pet food dishes
  • Light switches
  • Door handles

Remember, our bodies, particularly our children's bodies, need some bacteria to remain healthy and strong. Our immune systems are built to fight off diseases with help from the bacteria we come in contact with daily. However, keeping those bacteria at a healthy level is handled through proper hygiene and regular household cleaning.

While this isn’t a call to turn your home into a sterile hospital environment, just pay particular attention to those vulnerable spots to keep you and your family healthy.

Amanda is a mother of four, craft designer and recipe developer who also runs several sites, including Crafts by Amanda , Cooking with Amanda and the Secret Recipe Club. Her work has appeared on and as well as in Parents, Redbook and Mixing Bowl magazines among others.


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