Germs are everywhere; they are an inescapable part of our daily lives. Fortunately, 99 percent of known bacteria is completely harmless to humans – it’s the other one percent that we need to be worried about.
The germs in your home are either viral or bacterial, and can lead to everything from the common cold to life-threatening food poisoning. Most householders know where bacteria lurks in their home. But not all germs can be killed by cleaning the usual areas. In fact, some of the most dangerous bacteria lurks in the least likely of places.
Add the following areas of your home to your daily cleaning schedule, and reduce the bacteria in your home to levels that are safe.
1. Kitchen taps
The taps in your kitchen provide the ideal breeding ground for germs. They have a constant supply of moisture, they’re often warm and they come into contact with dirty hands several times a day. And although your taps might look spotless, they could be riddled with potentially dangerous bacteria – which could get into your food.
Cleaning tip: Once a week, clean your taps thoroughly with a food-friendly sanitiser solution.
2. Your vacuum cleaner
It stands to reason that the cleaning tools in your home will be some of the most serious hotspots for viruses and germs. Your vacuum cleaner in particular could be harbouring serious pathogens, including E. coli and influenza. And every time you use it, you could be spreading these germs around your home.
Cleaning tip: Use a bagless vacuum cleaner as emptying it takes just a few seconds. Once a week, clean the inside of the cyclonic dust cylinder with a sanitiser solution, and do the same to the handle.
3. Your dish cloths and towels
Dish cloths and tea towels provide the ideal breeding conditions for bacteria. Tea towels in particular can harbour some pretty nasty pathogens – which can eventually find their way into your food. A recent study in the United States revealed that seven percent of kitchen towels tested in homes were contaminated with the MRSA bug.
Cleaning tips: Replace your dish cloths, scourers and sponges once a day. More importantly, stop using tea towels to dry your dishes. Instead, switch to paper towel or allow your cutlery, utensils, dishes and pans to air dry.
4. Your doormats
Door mats perform a very important job in any home. They absorb the worst of dirt and moisture from shoes – protecting your carpets and hard flooring from becoming dirty and prematurely worn. However, the result is a doormat that can often be riddled with potentially dangerous bacteria.
Cleaning tip: Use a fabric-safe disinfectant spray on your doormat at least once a week. In addition, vacuuming your doormats daily will remove the dirt that often harbours bacteria – as well as the majority of dust and allergens present.
5. Your condiment holders and bottles
How often do you clean the ketchup bottles, salt cellars and pepper pots in your kitchen? The warm, moist conditions of the average kitchen, combined with constant contact with hands, means these items can harbour a wide range of viruses and bacteria.
Cleaning tip: Just before you put your condiments back into storage, give them a quick clean with an antibacterial wipe.
6. Your soap dispensers
The pump on a soap dispenser is one of the most serious germ hotspots in any home. This is because it is used by people who’ve just used the toilet BEFORE they’ve cleaned their hands. Research has shown that around 25 percent of soap dispensers harbour faecal matter, so it’s vital that you keep yours clean.
Cleaning tip: Use a sanitiser spray or alcohol-based gel to clean your soap dispenser’s pump once a day.
7. Your refrigerator seals
Fridge seals have a tendency to catch crumbs and food debris, which can make them susceptible to both dangerous bacteria and mould – both of which can spread to food. And if you have people with respiratory problems in your home, the mould can exacerbate their condition.
Cleaning tip: Give your fridge seals a quick clean every day with an antibacterial wipe – after you’ve cooked your last meal.
By making cleaning part of your daily routines, you can be reasonably sure that the bacteria hotspots in your home don’t pose a rise to your family’s health.