Before you can spell out D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G, here’s something for you to think about: the places that contain objects you intimately come into contact with are also the dirtiest places in your home. Let that sink in for a moment. Gross, right?
You’re in for a shock when you read just how dirty our homes can be. What will you do if I tell you that those silk sheets you love to sleep in, the kitchen where you make your well-loved puttanesca, and the bathroom where you enjoy nice, long lavender-scented baths (with candles and the works) are all germ-infested places?
One thing’s for sure. When you’re done reading this, you won’t look at these areas in your home the same way again. Disinfectant, anyone?
Bacteria: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Not all bacteria are harmful. Yes, you heard that one right.
There are two kinds of bacteria: the good and bad. The good bacteria are the ones that help your body digest food and keep parts of your body in a state of balance. How awesome is that?
So you’re at a crossroads with this love-and-hate relationship with bacteria, and you’re wondering how to go about it. To make it easier, we’ll refer to bad bacteria as ’germs’ in this article. Are you ready to pick your weapon of choice?
Where is the most bacteria found in a house?
The benchtop, kitchen sink, dishwashing sponges, and chopping boards make your kitchen one of the dirtiest places in your house.
We’re all guilty of these in our kitchen: the opened bag of chips, a half-eaten apple, and the occasional splatter of grease and meat juice from last night’s steak dinner. Those are just food scraps, and we’re not even talking about the scum from your kitchen sink yet. Hands down that can be a challenge to clean.
Placing groceries, preparing food, and eating on the benchtop makes it one of the surfaces with the most germs. Raw meat and fresh fruits and vegetables make for a sumptuous meal, but they’re also a recipe for disaster when it comes to bacterial contamination. Items in the kitchen like chopping boards, dish sponges, and coffee machine retain microscopic food particles that contain millions of germs if left uncleaned.
Before you go running to your kitchen and start spraying disinfectant everywhere, take a deep breath and relax. Chill. You got this.
The reality of it is, your kitchen is a common area where people come and go. It can be a challenge to keep it consistently clean especially when you have other important things to do! Want to know how I keep my kitchen clean despite my busy schedule?
The trick here is to clean what you can, as frequently as you can. Disinfecting wipes are your best friend here. This, plus a ton of rubbish bags, make the whole process of cleaning that much quicker and more convenient.
- Soak utensils, knives, and chopping boards in hot water to reduce the amount of germs. This ensures that those barely traceable bits of grease and food particles are completely washed off
- Disinfecting wipes are convenient to use on countertops, faucets, and sinks when you’re on the go.
- Soak your sponges in a solution of antibacterial dishwashing liquid and hot water to remove any grime that may have stuck to them.
- Use a disinfectant spray on rubbish bins. Change rubbish bags regularly to prevent germs and pests from multiplying.
Your bathroom can be your home’s spa-like sanctuary or your worst nightmare. With all the moisture and germs from the toilet bowl, sink, bath tub, and shower area, it is easily one of the dirtiest rooms in your house. One of the least popular spots to clean, too!
When you think about it, your bathroom is the perfect place for germs to hide and proliferate. Think of it as a fort for moulds, bacteria and viruses. The hard-to-reach areas of the toilet bowl traps germs from human waste and contaminated water. Germs from our hands and mouth are transferred to the sink whenever we brush our teeth or wash our hands. The humid environment in the shower area makes it easy for mould and mildew to form. The moist crevices between the tiles trap scum faster than you can say ‘scrub’.
- To give your bathroom a quick clean, use disinfecting wipes on the toilet seat before and after using it. Use a toilet disinfectant with a curved neck to sanitise hard-to-reach areas in your toilet bowl.
- Splash a disinfectant solution on your shower area and let it air-dry.
- Baking soda is an effective deodorising scrub to rid your tiles of stubborn stains and mildew.
- For eco-friendly disinfection, add a few drops of tea tree oil to water and use this for your last rinse. The fact that your bathroom will smell clean and fresh is a big plus.
The pillows, sheets, and blankets in your bedroom that you can’t wait to rush into after a day’s work are also the same places where germs live.
Because these items come into close contact with your skin and aren’t usually washed on a daily basis, they attract germs and mould that can cause you to sneeze, feel unwell, or simply stingy. Other hubs for bacteria are yoga mats, dirty clothes, used face masks and cotton balls, and shoes.
- To leave your bedroom clean after using it, put all clothes in a laundry basket designated for dirty clothes.
- It would help to have a shoe rack or a storage area for your shoes near the entrance of your home so you won’t have to bring germs from the environment into your bedroom.
- Dispose of any used personal items regularly to avoid accumulation of dirt and bacteria.
- Clean and sanitise your yoga mat regularly to prevent bacteria from multiplying.
4. Living room
A party in your living room can be fun, but do you know that having people come and go in this favourite spot of your house makes it prone to germs? Anyone can bring in and bring home germs from cross-contamination of commonly used items like remote controls, keyboards, and the couch.
- To ensure that your living room is clean, leave a rubbish bin in an area that’s accessible to everyone.
- Sanitise regularly with disinfecting wipes to remove dirt and germs from surfaces.
- A regular sweep in the living room can do wonders for making your house seem cleaner and lighter. I find that tidying up the living room has the most impact in changing the general cleanliness of my home.
- Here’s a quick 10-minute cleaning tip: quickly wipe your coffee table with a disinfecting wipe and put all rubbish in the rubbish bin. Deodorise your couch with a solution of isopropyl alcohol doused with a few drops of peppermint oil, prop up the throw pillows, put on fun music, and you’re all set to entertain your friends!
5. Laundry area
Sweat and dead skin cells are attractive to germs. They’re transferred from our bodies to our clothes when we wear them. Stains from food, mud splatters, and other substances are not only unsightly but are hot spots for germs, too. Put all of your dirty clothes together in a machine that can trap dirt and moulds and you have a recipe for one of the dirtiest spots in your house. Luckily, your laundry area is also one of the easiest places to clean.
- Use disinfecting wipes to clean the tops of your laundry machine.
- Avoid leaving wet laundry in your laundry machine to prevent moulds from forming. You may have to wash clothes again that have been left wet in the laundry machine to remove any germs.
- Use a detergent with an antibacterial formula when washing clothes that are heavily soiled with dirt or sweat.
6. Surfaces where you keep your personal items
This can be your gym, office, or spots in the house where you leave frequently used items like your gym bag, makeup kit (this one is so bad that I may have to write a separate post for this one!), purse or wallet, keys, and mobile devices.
7. Places that your pets have access to
Pet toys, leashes, and pet food dishes are some of the dirtiest items in your house. Your pet bulldog can make the most adorable puppy-dog eyes you can’t say no to, but it’s a different story when he slobbers and leaves traces of dog food and other unmentionables on your floor. Regularly cleaning and sanitising the areas that your pets frequent will help prevent disease-carrying bacteria from spreading to other parts of the house.
What are places with little bacteria?
Germs are living organisms and cannot live in freezing or boiling temperatures. Places in your home with little bacteria are the spots where there is extreme cold, heat, or ultraviolet light. A perfect example is the inside of your freezer. You won’t have to worry about raw meat, fruits and vegetables spoiling when you store them here. You can be sure they’ll stay nice and fresh until you’re ready to use them.
What are the germiest places in public?
Public transport, handrails, and spots where there are rubbish bins are the germiest places in public.
How to eliminate germs in your home
If you’re a neat freak and a microbe nerd like me, you can never be too clean. Like I always tell my best friend, you can enjoy a bottle of bad wine with good company, but never a well-decorated house with clutter. Let me insert here, too, #alsogerms.
I find that the most convenient way to clean is to do it while there’s still just little dirt in your area. When you clean and sanitise your home regularly, you can keep germs and dirt at a minimum without getting overwhelmed by the idea of a whole house overhaul.
There are times, though, when you may use the wrong disinfectant or may not be able to sanitise hard-to-reach areas because you don’t have the right tools. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You can use this smart solution instead.
Here’s a tip I highly recommend: call your local cleaners when you want to give your home a thorough disinfection. I’m not talking about the kind of clean where you just wipe dirty surfaces and take out the rubbish. While these are particularly helpful in cleaning your home, professional cleaners do more than just that. They use proper techniques with commercial-grade equipment and cleaning agents in order to really get into those hard-to-reach areas.
What this means for you is less effort from your end, plus plenty of extra time to do something else – like planning on that Saturday barbecue and beer with your friends. I don’t know about you, but this definitely sounds like a more fun way to spend your time.