Deep Cleaning: 5 Places in Your Home That Harbor Germs and Bacteria

Deep Cleaning: 5 Places in Your Home That Harbor Germs and Bacteria
  • Opening Intro -

    Household germs lurk everywhere, and in order to stay healthy, you need to know where they hide and how to prevent them from spreading.


Read on to discover the 5 places in your home with the most germs and bacteria.

Wood Cutting Boards:

If you happen to use an old-fashioned soft wood cutting board for chopping chicken, seafood or other meat cuts, you could be putting your family at risk for exposure to E-coli and salmonella bacteria, the pathogens known for causing food-borne illnesses. Food-borne illnesses can lead to severe vomiting, and sometimes death.

The tell-tale grooves left behind from repeated cutting absorb bacteria. To make matters worse, fat and oil deposits left behind by meat cuts create a protective barrier for this bacteria. In order to kill cutting board bacteria, you will need to use extremely hot water, combined with dish soap, rather than relying on cold, harsh chemicals. Allow the cutting board to dry completely before proceeding with cutting.

The Desk:

According to a University of Arizona study, the germs found on your computer keyboard, mouse and phone carry more bacteria per square inch than the average toilet seat. This is partially because toilet seats are cleaned often, while desktop surfaces are often overlooked when it comes to hygiene. The simple act of washing your hands for twenty seconds, combined with the use of antibacterial surface wipes, can significantly reduce the amount of bacteria lurking on your desk.

Wet Sinks:

According to microbiologist Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona, the warmth, dampness and darkness of the sink drain makes it one of the most contaminated fixtures of your home. Poor sanitation practices can easily spread E-coli, Staphyloccus Aureus, Camphylobacter, and Salmonella to the sink, sink drain and fixtures. Camphylobacter, which can be found in meat and dairy products, can cause death in people with compromised immune systems. Exposure to Staphyloccoccus Aureus can lead to serious skin infections and blood poisoning. To prevent the spread of disease, bathroom and kitchen sinks must be cleaned daily with soap, water and diluted bleach.


According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the average carpeted surface contains about 200,000 bacteria per square inch. Day and night, this bacteria feeds off of food particles, pollen and dead skin cells. Unfortunately, most vacuum cleaners aren’t powerful enough to remove them all. Among the most harmful bacteria are E-coli, Staph and Salmonella.

E-coli and salmonella can be deposited on carpeting through pet fecal matter or through tiny, traveling water droplets after flushing the toilet. Staph is a bacteria that grows in the nose and skin and is often transferred to carpeting through the hands, sneezing, blood, and skin. The CDC recommends that high-traffic carpeting be professionally cleaned every 4 to 6 months; otherwise, a once-a-year carpet cleaning is appropriate.

Coffee Makers:

When it comes to loving the taste of coffee, for some, ignorance is bliss. According to Donna Duberg, a science professor at Saint Louis University, the slick biofilm that commonly accumulates with regular use of a coffee maker can make you sick. Even though the acidic nature of coffee is somewhat helpful in killing germs, 50% of the bacteria still remains.

Duberg warns coffee drinkers that built-in water filters won’t eliminate germs and that all removable components be cleaned with hot, soapy water, once a week. She also recommends a once-a-month cycle of equal parts vinegar and water to sanitize the inner components of your coffee maker.

Ridding your home of harmful household germs and bacteria is the key to preventing the spread of the common cold, flu and other infectious illnesses. Remember to change sponges, rags and towels on a regular basis as these items have porous surfaces that encourage bacterial growth.

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about home, family, auto and education. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing. Informational credit to Fantastic Carpet Services.



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