Would it take a scientific study to convince you that your pristine and tidy kitchen may still be dirtier than your teenager’s bedroom? Learn the ugly truth about germs and where they accumulate the most. Many exist in plain sight (if you could see them) on surfaces in your home you only thought were clean.
Top 10 Places for Germs and Hidden Dirt
The National Sanitation Foundation, a public health and safety organization, now called NSF International, conducted a study on household germs in 2011. The NSF found the following significant offenders: coliforms that can cause gastrointestinal illnesses, yeast and mold that may cause respiratory problems and skin rashes, and Staphylococcus aureus (staph), a bacteria resistent to antibiotics that can cause a host of health issues.
In addition to the study by the NSF, the following 10 dirtiest places were compiled with the help of expert insight sourced from Better Homes & Gardens (BHG), Real Simple, and the all-natural lifestyle magazine Mother Earth Living. Not all dirt and grime is microscopic; sometimes it just gets overlooked.
Area #1 Kitchen Sponges and Rags
When not cleaned properly themselves, kitchen sponges and rags transfer germs from one location to another rather than removing them. A whopping 86% of kitchen sponges and rags contained yeast and mold, 75% tested positive for coliform bacteria and 18% had staph present. According to Real Simple, the FDA has banned sponges from commercial kitchens, deeming them more hazardous than quick drying rags.
- Michigan State University instructs to sanitize a sponge by placing it wet in the microwave and heating it for a full minute. Be careful removing it as it will be hot.
Sponges and rags can also be sanitized by running them through the dishwasher on the hottest setting and then use the heated drying option.
- Greenopedia recommends soaking the kitchen sponge overnight in a solution of 2 cups water and a quarter cup of white vinegar. After rinsing, you’ll still need to heat the sponge in the microwave if you want to kill any staph bacteria, as vinegar doesn’t kill staphylococcus.