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April 10, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 1 Faves: 0

Some Common Hiding Places for Germs

By Claire Franklin More Blogs by This Author

I have a problem with germs. I know they exist, and I know they’re virtually everywhere. My problem is that I don’t want to think about them – ever. But I have to, because I need to keep my apartment as clean as possible without driving myself nuts in the process.

Avoiding Detection

It’s funny because I’ll clean the kitchen and bathroom multiple times each week, which seem like the most obvious places where unhealthy germs reside. Other places, however, require equal attention. Those spots I speak of are the ones I rarely think about, and I'll bet you overlook them too.

Take, for instance, the medicine cabinet inside the bathroom, and sink faucets in both the bathroom and kitchen. They’re right in front of my face every day, but I ignore them and instead devote my attention to the toilet, floors, counters, and sinks. A few minutes of time should be given to these other surface areas, however, especially the faucet handles, because I regularly touch those with dirty hands. It’s important to remember to wipe down the toilet handle as well, which is also touched by all kinds of hands (at least when people come to visit).

Those same hands also touch the front door knob between 10 and 20 times a day. I grab it each time I leave for work, as well as every time I take my dog for a walk. As I write this, I can tell you that knob is probably filthy, but it’s a spot I never think about when cleansing my apartment. A simple wipe with a disinfectant cloth can serve to remove germs.

Other Tricky Germ Havens

My purse is another spot that, while not a component of my home, definitely spends a lot of time inside it. A study conducted by ABC News and Microbiologist Chuck Gerba confirmed the outside bottom of women’s purses contain “at least some bacteria.” Of those tested, “most had tens of thousands and a few were saturated with millions… half of the bags tested positive for coliform bacteria,” thus suggesting the presence of fecal matter. This news is enough to make me throw out my purse right now. That solution would satisfy my immediate need, but in the long-run, I would have to continue discarding purses in order to deter contact with their bacteria.

Dr. Oz suggests these steps to reduce germs as much as possible:

  • Use antibacterial wipes to clean your purse and its contents; discard anything you don’t need.
  • At home, leave your purse near the door so you don’t bring contaminants inside.
  • Keep shoes out of your purse so it and the personal items inside stay cleaner longer.

Attention is often given to computer keyboards, but I rarely hear about the need to clean the computer mouse. I know I touch mine for at least several hours each day, which makes it the perfect breeding ground for germs. This, too, can be easily remedied with antibacterial wipes. Similarly, remote controls for Wii consoles and televisions should also be wiped clean regularly.

Finally, I need to give some thought to the light switches in my home. In the bathroom, this simple piece of technology can have up to 217 bacteria per square inch, according to OnGuard Sanitizing Solutions (OSS). These switches need to be kept clean in all areas of the home, not just the bathroom. And just so you know, here is a list of the most germ-riddled places in public, also provided by OSS:

  • Mass transit
  • Daycare/Preschools
  • Amusement parks
  • Playground equipment
  • Nursing homes


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1 Comment

  • wow nice eye opener! I definitely forget about wiping down the handle on the toilet - even while cleaning my bathroom this is a spot I never touch. Thanks for the tips.

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