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What's the Filthiest Part of My House?

Want to keep your house as germ-free as possible? Start by cleaning the filthiest parts of your home.

You might not be surprised to hear that some rooms in your home are dirtier than others. But, the area in your home that’s the filthiest may surprise you.

1. Kitchen Sponges and Dish Rags

One of the germiest places in your home is the kitchen — especially sponges and dish rags. According to an NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) study, 77 percent of kitchen dish rags and sponges tested positive for coliform bacteria (like Salmonella and E. coli), which can indicate contamination from fecal material (poop). Kitchen sponges and rags also contained staph aureus (18 percent) and yeast and mold (86 percent). So change these kitchen items regularly to prevent them from being some of the filthiest parts of your house.

2. Kitchen Sinks and Countertops

Because the kitchen is one of the dirtiest places in your home, it’s no surprise that kitchen countertops and sinks harbor germs. NSF says 45 percent of kitchen sinks and 32 percent of kitchen countertops tested positive for coliform bacteria (which may indicate fecal contamination) that can make you sick. These surfaces also tested positive for yeast and mold. So disinfect these areas regularly with antibacterial cleaning agents.

3. Cutting Boards

Cutting boards also harbor coliform bacteria, says NSF. In fact, 18 percent of cutting boards tested contained these potentially harmful bacteria, and 14 percent tested positive for yeast and mold. So wash cutting boards well with hot soapy water, or in a dishwasher to keep germs at bay.

4. Bathroom Towels

Change bathroom towels regularly, especially those next to the toilet. Hand towels, which often become damp with regular use, are excellent breeding grounds for mildew and other germs. And, flushing toilets with the lids up means germs splatter from toilet water to towels. So change bath towels often to ensure this area of your home is as germ-free as possible.

5. Bathroom Faucets, Handles, Switches, and Knobs

It might be no surprise that the bathroom is one of the filthiest places in your home. Of bathroom items tested by NSF, yeast and mold harbored in 27 percent of bathroom faucet handles, 27 percent of toilet seats, 23 percent of bathroom light switches, 14 percent of bathroom door knobs, and 14 percent of toilet handles. So disinfect these areas often to keep germs at bay.

6. Refrigerator Handles

Other places dirty hands touch regularly include refrigerator and microwave handles, so it's no surprise that these are surfaces where germs lurk. Refrigerator handles tested positive for coliform bacteria (9 percent), staph aureus (14 percent), and yeast and mold (23 percent) in the NSF study. So wipe down handles regularly with antibacterial agents to steer clear of germs.

7. Stove Knobs

You might not think of stove knobs as being germ breeding grounds, but they can be. Of the stove knobs tested by NSF, 27 percent were positive for yeast and mold, 14 percent contained coliform bacteria, and 5 percent tested positive for staph aureus. So when cleaning kitchen handles, countertops and sinks, don’t neglect stove knobs.

8. Coffee Reservoirs

You may not think of coffee makers as one of the filthiest places in your home, but they can be. NSF says 50 percent of coffee reservoirs in homes tested positive for yeast and mold, and 9 percent contained coliform bacteria. So wash and disinfect coffee reservoirs regularly to make it more difficult for germs to fester.

9. Toothbrush Holders

Toothbrush holders pick up a variety of different germs, and the moist environment they often provide is ideal for germ growth. Of toothbrush holder tested, 27 percent contained coliform bacteria, 14 percent had staph aureus, and 64 percent tested positive for yeast and mold.

10. Pet Toys & Bowls

Pets often sniff at or even eat poop, so their bowls and toys can be loaded with germs. Nine percent of pet bowls tested positive for e-coli (an indicator of fecal contamination), and many pet bowls and toys in the NSF study contained other coliform bacteria, staph aureus, yeast, and mold. So wash your hands after touching these items, and clean and disinfect them regularly.

11. Electronics

The electronics in your home can harbor more germs than you think, as dirty hands may touch them often. The NSF study found that many remote controls, keyboards, cell phones, iPods, and video game controllers contained yeast and mold, and some are also sources of staph aureus and colfirm bacteria. So spray or wipe down these items with a disinfectant or antibacterial agent often to keep germs contained.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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