Family Room Carpet
The rug in the room where everyone hangs out may contain as much as 200,000 bacteria per square inch, says Reynolds, who has isolated E. coli, Salmonella, and MRSA, a type of staph bacteria that causes skin infections, in carpet fibers. The skin cells, food particles, pollen, and pet dander that collect in carpets serve as a smorgasbord for germs. When you walk on the rug, or your kids roll around on it, you disrupt the little buggers, bringing some closer to the surface.
Clean up: Vacuum weekly, with the beater brush turned on, to draw grime out of the fibers. Then, spritz with a fabric sanitizing product, such as Lysol Neutra Air Fabric Mist, $6, drugstore.com (test in an inconspicuous spot before spraying down your Oriental rug). At least once a year, hire a company to do a deep steam-cleaning to zap residual germs.