We’re all familiar with the unpleasant task of cleaning the not-so-nice household items that we associate with germs – however, did you know that your own kitchen sponge is likely to be harbouring millions more bacteria than your toilet seat? Paying close attention to the most familiar objects that we all know need regular cleaning, means that it is often the neglected items that we come into contact with everyday that can become a danger to our health. Most of us assume that our bathrooms are an easy target for germs – however, the kitchen can quickly become a breeding ground for equally bad bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. If left unchecked, these germs can be the culprit behind nasty cases of food poisoning and other infections. Here are some of the more surprising items that are at risk to these bad bacteria – and how you can keep them clean and safe.
Our mobile phones are one of the biggest incubators for germs around – a pretty shocking fact when you consider how often we use them, and how close they come into contact with our mouths. As our hands pick up germs throughout the day, our phones, which we touch on average 2,617 times a day, pick them up too. And although we are used to regularly washing our hands, the majority of us never clean our handsets, which makes them an ideal place for bacteria to multiply. Check the instructions for your specific model, and if the manual permits, wipe the surfaces regularly using a phone cleaning spray and a paper towel or microfibre cloth. It’s easy, takes a few seconds, and keeps your phone squeaky clean!
Cutting boards are one of those kitchen items that seem relatively harmless – but if not washed properly can become home to millions of germs in the cracks and grooves of the surface. This is especially risky when it comes to raw meat, which leave dangerous bacteria on boards that remains even after wiping or rinsing. To ensure your chopping board is clean and ready for use again, make sure to wash thoroughly with hot soapy water. Another great idea to keep your family safe from chopping board bacteria is to have designated boards for meat and vegetables, a method that’s also great for teaching kids the importance of kitchen hygiene.
Dish sponges/tea towels
Perhaps the most surprising item on this list, your dish sponge – which trumps your toilet seat for the most germ-loaded object we use everyday. Many studies have discovered dish sponges more often than not carry millions of bacteria due to lack of proper sanitation. The key here is to replace your sponges regularly – don’t forget they come into contact with your hands, raw meat, and old food on a daily basis. Another way to combat kitchen germs is to have a separate cloth for wiping surfaces, and one for washing dishes – it will have a drastic impact on the amount of bacteria your sponge gathers in just one week. Tea towels also harbour dirt from our hands and unclean dishes, so make sure to put them on a hot wash cycle at least once a week.
An item some of us may associate with chaos – but few of us with harmful bacteria. Your handbag is in fact a perfect spot for bacteria to grow unnoticed. For those of us that keep make up and other toiletries inside, watch out – leakages and spillages that are not properly cleaned up can cause your favourite handbag to become a hotbed for multiple micro-organisms. We also leave our handbags or rucksacks on the floors of streets, public transport, and public restrooms throughout the day, only to leave them on our beds and sofas once we get home. If you can, wipe your bag down every now and then with disinfectant wipes or spray, and make sure to keep all liquid containers clean and airtight.
Although not as hazardous as some of the items previously mentioned, the appliances we use to make our morning cup of coffee need special care and cleaning to ensure they stay as hygienic as possible. A good coffeemaker is the cornerstone of any kitchen – but unfortunately even the most high-tech machines can leave a warm residue that if left unattended, becomes the perfect place for bacteria and mould to live. You can usually find the best way to clean your machine in your instruction manual, however, one simple and effective method of cleaning is to use a white wine vinegar and water solution in a brew cycle and let it sit, before running through again with water and wiping down the machine itself. Luckily for us, and our full, busy lives, this just needs to be done every so often to ensure your coffee is always germ-free (and delicious!).
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