Bacteria are everywhere around us. Some are benign and even helpful to us, like the ones we have in our digestive system, for example. But other bacteria can be harmful and cause certain illnesses and conditions.
There are bacteria that multiply very fast when the environment is right. The temperature, nutrients and base can cause some bacteria to split as quickly as every 20 minutes. This a serious fact to consider after an injury to avoid infection or when you don’t wash your hands before a meal.
The study Microbial Hotspots and Diversity on Common Household Surfaces by NSF International and Charles River Accugenix group shows 340 different bacteria on the most contaminated household objects. Namely, they observed 30 objects used on a daily basis in the 17 participating households.
It may come as a shock, but actually, the most contaminated objects were the sponge in the kitchen and toothbrush holder in the bathroom. The most isolated harmful microbes were Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, yeast, and mold. These are all varieties that can have a negative impact on your health.
Based on the same study, microbial life depends on lifestyle habits, surface type and the way we clean our home. Industrial cleaning agents are effective but can also be harmful since they contain toxic substances. So, use natural cleaning agents like white vinegar, baking soda, natural salt, lemons, essential oils and other ingredients you can already find at home.
When it comes to the dirtiest places in your home, here are some suggestions for what to pay the most attention to when cleaning.
1. The kitchen
The kitchen is the place that should be spotless and regularly cleaned after every meal preparation. It’s the places that we store food and prepare it that have the most bacteria, actually. As mentioned before, the sponge you use to wash the dishes and kitchen towels are the most frequent breeding grounds for Salmonella, E. coli and faecal matter.
Devices used to process food and store it, like the refrigerator or blender, need careful and regular cleaning, as do cutting boards, the kitchen sink, and countertops after every use. There are several things you can do to make the cleaning easier for you. You can mix white vinegar with water in a spray bottle and use it for cleaning. Change dish towels frequently, and put salt on the cutting board to sit overnight.
2. Handles and switches
The objects we use many times every day, like doorknobs and light switches are, normally, the surfaces with the most microbial presence. Handles on the refrigerator, oven, stove, microwave and kitchen cabinets are the ones you should pay special attention to.
The bathroom is, surprisingly, cleaner except for the light switch. That only proves that the majority of people take care of the basic hygiene habits, like washing hands. You can use homemade disinfectant wipes to clean these surfaces.
You’ll need an empty canister with a plastic lid, paper towels, vinegar, water, alcohol, liquid dish soap, essential oil, and sprayer. These DIY disinfectant wipes are actually good for other surfaces and to maintain a clean house until a more thorough cleaning.
The bathroom was probably on everyone’s mind before you even started reading the article. And rightly so, since this is the place where we remove dirt from our bodies. It’s moist and warm so microbes have the perfect environment to reproduce.
Areas like the tub, drains, faucets and around the toilet are most commonly full of bacteria and need special attention. Additionally, towels, bathrobes, and toothbrushes are also at high risk due to the contact with our bodies and wetness.
Daily attention to the bathroom should do the trick. Use a disinfectant like white vinegar and baking soda paste. If you don’t have the time, spray the vinegar and water mixture daily, and then dedicate one day a week to thoroughly cleaning the whole bathroom.
Replace towels once a week, those you use for hands and face even more frequently than that. The toothbrush should be changed every three to four months and kept in the enclosure.
4. Pet Corner
The pets who are allowed to go outside and live with you in your home have to be cleaned after every outing and more thoroughly in the evening. If you have a house and yard, this is much easier since you can use hoses to wash your pet during the warmer period.
Otherwise, use disinfectant wipes with vinegar for the paws and fur. If they’re dirtier than that due to the bad weather outside or they played with other pets, you will have to wash them in the tub. Regular grooming and pet cosmetics can help to remove bacteria from their bodies.
However, if you have a pet, know that you will never be able to make them the cleanest in the world. But you will at least remove most of the dirt and bacteria with regular care, especially if they’re allowed to sleep in your bed.
5. Personal items
You can also bring microbes into your home on objects like shoes, bags, clothes and even your watch. Cell phones are the most affected since they’re often used and you hold them in your hands. The objects that you use the most, like keys and wallets, are also at the top of the list. Money is, as expected, also in this group since it changes hands frequently.
The most common microbes are faecal contamination, yeast, and mold, but certain bacteria are present as well. You can use disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers on the objects. However, the cell phone and other electronics you use may need wipes specifically made for them. You can buy these at electronic goods stores.
The makeup kit is also something to consider in your regular cleaning routine. Applicators can hold bacteria since they come in direct contact with your skin, eyes, and lips. Clean makeup brushes once a week with regular soap and water and you can also spray them with a cleaning agent afterward. Replace your cosmetics every six months, and even more frequently if you notice that they smell different or bad.
Cleaning your home on a daily basis is exhausting even when it comes to smaller things like faucets and the cutting board. However, know that microbes can cause serious conditions which can endanger your health.
With a few healthy cleaning mixtures, you will keep the number of bacteria in your home at a minimum, while not having to spend too much time on it. Lastly, when the big cleaning day comes, you will have less work and worry on your hands.