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Places Germs Hide That Most People Overlook

The Come Clean Blog

cleaning vegetables


Do you know where germs are most likely to hide in your home?  Some areas in your home are germier than others, so cleaning those areas may take a little extra effort.  Following are some of the germiest places – and tips for cleaning and disinfecting them. 

The Kitchen

Surprisingly for many of us, the kitchen contains more germs than the bathroom. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) found that food preparation areas have more bacteria than other places in the home.  Some of the germiest kitchen surfaces include: 

Kitchen Sponge – almost all sponges have E. coli growing in them, and some have Salmonella. The sponge stays wet and moist with plenty of food for bacteria to grow.  Salmonella and E. coli can lead to stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. In more serious cases, E. coli can also cause pneumonia and respiratory problems.  Here are a few quick and easy ways to sanitize the kitchen sponge:  

  • Soak it in a bleach solution for 5 minutes, and then rinse it with water to kill 99.9% of the bacteria. 
  • Saturate the sponge in water then microwave it one for 1 or 2 minutes. 
  • Add it to the dishwasher load and run it on the “heated” dry setting. 

Clean them weekly and replace them every two to three weeks, depending on use.

Kitchen sink -  Considering the kitchen sink is the place where you wash dirt and germs off raw food, it’s one of the germiest places in your home. It’s also where you rinse your dirty dishes and wash dirty pots and pans before washing them in the dishwasher.  At least once a week, disinfect the sink. Drains and disposals should also be disinfected at least once a month.

Coffee Maker - That coffee maker could be giving you more than your morning wake-up. The reservoir is not only damp, but also dark, making it an ideal place for germs to thrive. To clean the coffee reservoir, pour four cups of vinegar into the reservoir, wait 30 minutes, then brew the vinegar as you would brew coffee. Afterward, brew at least two cycles of water to rinse the vinegar.

Countertop - The kitchen counter is the collect-all space - Grocery bags (which were previously on the floor of your car), car keys, mail, and handbags are all dropped off on the countertop.  Yet, this is where you prepare food, including raw food like fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. Keep non-food items off the countertop, and disinfect it before and after preparing food.  Use a spray disinfectant like JAWS Disinfectant Cleaner that cleans and disinfects in one-step.  Be sure to follow the label instructions for proper dwell times.

Knobs, Handles and Switches - Many of us assume that bathroom surfaces like the toilet and light switch are the most contaminated, but according to National Sanitation Foundation, other hard surfaces in the house ranked higher with bacteria, including Light Switches, Refrigerator handles, stove knobs, and microwave handles.  Clean these areas once a week with disinfecting wipes or JAWS Disinfectant cleaner. This will help kill viruses including SARS-COV-2 (COVID 19 virus) that may be lingering on these plastic or steel surfaces.

The Bathroom

It’s no surprise that the room where you scrub dirt and grime off your body holds bacteria.  Due to the moisture from hot showers, the bathroom is a perfect place for germs. Surface areas you should pay special attention to include:

Faucets - Unless you have a touchless faucet, faucet handles are some of the germiest places in your bathroom.  On a daily basis, clean the faucet handles with a JAWS Disinfectant spray cleaner or wipes. 

Bath towels and Hand Towels - Replace bathroom towels weekly.  Wash them in hot water.

Toothbrush holder - the toilet is not the germiest place in your bathroom – that distinction goes to your toothbrush holder. In fact, the toilet seat might be the least germy place in your bathroom, because it is cleaned regularly. However, if your toothbrush holder is located close to the toilet, it may be subject to particles that are sprayed through the air when you flush.  Close the toilet when you flush and try to keep your toothbrush holder as far away from the toilet as possible. On a weekly basis, put the holder in the dishwasher’s sanitizing cycle, and consider replacing toothbrushes every 3 – 4 months.

Toilets and the floor area around the toilet – Although toilet seats are not the germiest spot in the house, you still want to keep them clean.  Utilize JAWS Daily Shower Cleaner to maintain a clean toilet, and it’s good practice to disinfect the toilet area weekly.

Cosmetic Bag - Makeup applicators, especially brushes, are a prime host for germs, especially if you carry your makeup bag with you when you leave the house.  The germs that live on makeup applicators can cause skin and eye infections.   

Ideally, makeup should be kept in a clean, dry space at room temperature.  To keep makeup brushes clean, wash them weekly with soap and water, or use an alcohol spray on the brushes.  To help prevent the spread of the covid-19, it’s recommended to wash makeup applicators daily.  Replace cosmetics every 6 months and throw out eye makeup if you’ve had an eye infection or a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The Laundry

How often do you run a load of laundry in the washing machine, but forget to transfer it over to the dryer when the cycle completes?  Wet laundry when left in the washing machine, can cause germs to flourish.  To prevent germs from growing Transfer clean clothes to the dryer immediately after each wash. If clothes sit in the washer for more than 30 minutes, you may want to run a second cycle.  Warm or hot water is more effective in killing bacteria and viruses like the coronavirus than cold water, so use hot water whenever possible especially on clothes you’ve worn in public.  Be sure to follow the garment instructions.

The Home Office 

We dust and vacuum these rooms during our regular cleaning schedule, but we often overlook  remote controls, computer keyboards, phones, and tablets that are shared by family members and houseguests.  Clean and disinfect them regularly.  Spray a soft micro-fiber cloth with JAWS Glass Cleaner and then wipe down computer and phone screens.  

Our Pets

Our furry friends can bring germs and bacteria into our homes, especially if they go outside.  Our pets bowls, toys and beds can all harbor germs. Clean your pet’s bowls regularly. Wash them in the dishwasher’s sanitizing cycle or by hand with soap and warm water.

Clean their hard toys with soapy water, then rinse and let them air air-dry. Throw soft toys in the washing machine and run on the sanitizing cycle.

Personal Items

You bring home bacteria and viruses every day through your shoes, gym bag, and even headphones.  We touch so many surfaces each day and we never think twice about it.  Be sure to clean and disinfect these frequently used personal items:

  • cell phones
  • keys
  • wallet and money
  • lunch boxes
  • the bottom of purses

Practice Good Cleaning Habits

Keep bacteria and viruses from spreading by keeping things clean.  You don’t necessarily need to clean more, just take proper care of your cleaning tools and use disinfectants, like JAWS Disinfectant Cleaner in the areas where viruses and bacteria are likely to thrive.  You’re not likely to keep your home germ-free, but you can keep the number of germs down.