The 8 Germiest Items in Your Home
Turns out, bacteria tends to linger on some of the most frequently used household items. Here, a list of germ-laden places—and how to tackle those trouble spots.
You’ve heard this before, and yet the item used to “clean” dishes and countertops is still the filthiest thing in most homes, says Reynolds. Residential sponges and cloths routinely test positive for illness-causing bacteria, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus, as well as the influenza virus; the damp material is also a breeding ground for mold. With every swipe, you could be spreading that gunk all over the place. No wonder the FDA has banned sponges—which tend to be more hazardous than quicker-drying rags—from commercial kitchens.
Clean up: After each use, rinse the sponge or cloth in hot water, wring it out, and let it dry in a ventilated soap dish or spread out over a towel bar. At the end of the day, and after every raw-meat encounter, sterilize a wet sponge by popping it in the microwave for one minute (emphasis on “wet”—a dry sponge could catch fire); toss rags in the laundry. Clean countertops daily with a disinfecting spray and switch to a new sponge every couple of weeks.