Colds, stomach flu and food-borne illness are all spread by exposure to germs. No matter how clean you keep your home, the surfaces in your home can still harbor the germs that can make you sick.
Believe it or not, the germiest place in your home isn’t the bathroom—it’s your kitchen.
Your kitchen drain and faucet, refrigerator door handle, microwave buttons and even the sponge you use to clean your kitchen all harbor bacteria more than any other surface in your house. TV remote controls and bathrooms surfaces are also often contaminated.
Bacteria and viruses can survive on household surfaces longer than you may think. Some viruses, such as the norovirus, can last several weeks.
Tips to Get Rid of Germs in Your Home
- Clean with bleach water. The simplest (and cheapest) way to kill germs in your home is to clean surfaces with diluted bleach water. Bacteria are not resistant to bleach. Mix three tablespoons in a half-quart of water and use it to wipe down doorknobs, light switches, handles, countertops and other surfaces frequently touched in your home.
- Wash your hands. We all touch contaminated surfaces every day. Scrub your hands for 15 to 20 seconds with warm soap and water frequently throughout the day to prevent the spread of germs, whether you’re in your home or elsewhere. Keep hand sanitizer easily accessible in your home to encourage clean hands.
- Disinfect your kitchen sponge. Chances are, you’re spreading more germs than you’re cleaning up when you wipe your kitchen counters with a sponge. To help keep your kitchen sponge from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria, put it in about an inch of water in a microwave safe container and microwave it for about one minute daily.
- Keep sheets, blankets and pillows clean. It’s not just hard surfaces where germs may be lurking. Your bedding and living room pillows and throws can also be covered in germs. Wash them regularly in hot water and dry on the highest temperature setting to help kill off germs. It’s also not a bad idea to disinfect your washing machine every now and then. Empty your washing machine and run a normal cycle with bleach and hot water.
Your home will never be 100 percent germ-free, but with these simple tips, you can dramatically reduce the number of germs lurking in your home and reduce your risk of getting sick.