When it comes to cleaning, the bathroom is typically where most of your efforts are focused.
You probably make sure your toilet is always cleaned thoroughly and take the time to sanitize it at least once a week.
But did you know your kitchen sponge is actually 200,000 times dirtier than your toilet?
In fact, some seemingly harmless everyday items elsewhere in your kitchen, car, and other areas of your home typically contain a thousand or more times the amount of germs than your average bathroom.
Of course, some of these strains of bacteria are beneficial, but some are down-right deadly!
While you may think scrubbing everything in sight and spraying an antibacterial agent from floor to ceiling is the answer, this tactic may make things even worse according to some studies.
Your best solution for your own health and the environment is simply using a mild soap mixed with water or a mixture of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and vinegar—get 2 spray bottles and use one after the other for best effectiveness:
“Using one mist right after the other is 10 times more effective than using either spray by itself and more effective than mixing the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in one sprayer.” (1)
Here are the top 12 dirtiest places in your home:
1. Dish Cloths and Sponges
As mentioned sponges are exceptionally dirty despite all the soap you use on them.
Studies show that there are 1 million bacteria per square inch on an average dish cloth and a whopping 10 million per square inch on a kitchen sponge—that’s 200,000 times more than on your toilet seat! (2)
To avoid this, you can zap sponges in your microwave for two minutes to kill the germs and change them out for new ones regularly.
2. Kitchen Towels
According to one study, 7 percent of kitchen towels were found to be covered in MRSA—the deadly antibiotic resistant super drug. (3)
And it gets better (or worse as the case may be), 89 percent of these towels contain coliform bacteria typically found in feces as well as E. Coli, which was found on 25 percent of these towels. (4) So, use them only for drying dishes and wash them regularly and dry on high heat!
3. Other Cleaning Equipment
While sponges and dish towels are high on the list of the dirtiest things in your home, anything you use to clean can be a safe haven for lurking germs.
Some studies show that as many as 50 percent of vacuum cleaner brushes contain fecal bacteria and 13 percent had actual E. coli in them! (5)
Not surprisingly, mop heads, brooms, dustpans and dusting cloths and/or brushes also contain large amounts of bacteria and as such, should be washed or replaced regularly.
4. Bath Towels
Bath towels are typically covered in dead skin full of dead skin cells, which, when mixed with a moist environment, are actually a high-risk item. And, heaven forbid if you actually share your bath towels with family members!
You can unknowingly be cross contaminating all types of germs and bacteria including everything from colds and flu to athlete’s foot and serious infections.
Wash all your towels at least every week, use vinegar in place of fabric softener to remove odors as well as improve the absorbency of the fabric.
5. Cutting Boards
The average cutting board has about 200 percent more fecal bacteria than the average toilet seat! (6)
The best practice is to have several cutting boards—one for meat, one for vegetables and always thoroughly wash them in soapy water or put them through the dishwasher if possible.
6. The Kitchen Sink
Your kitchen sink may contain over 500,000 bacteria—that’s 1,000 times more than in your toilet! To counter these tiny germs, scrub your sink and around the faucet area using peroxide and then vinegar.