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6 Surprisingly Germy Items in Your Home and How to Clean Them


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Spring cleaning is in full swing. But your deep disinfecting dive shouldn’t stop with a simple vacuuming or dusting. If you take a closer look at your home—whether it’s your living room, your kitchen or even your toothbrush—you’ll see that germs are multiplying everywhere.

Those germs can contribute to everything from the flu to food poisoning. Eek! To help you rid your abode of unwanted antibodies, here are the most dangerous breeding grounds for germs—and the best ways to neutralize the threat.

Bath Towel

The bathroom is an obvious danger zone, but the worst culprit isn’t what you’d expect. If you’re trying to limit your weekly laundry load by reusing your bath towel, think again. It’s probably crawling with germs. It might seem like you’re at least fairly clean when you step out of that five-minute, rushing-because-you’re-late-to-work shower, but anything you missed is going to come off on that now-wet towel—a waterlogged environment that germs love. So, if you don’t feel like smearing bacteria over your supposedly squeaky-clean body every morning, avoid re-using your towel more than three days in a row before putting it in the wash.

Cutting Board

The kitchen is the last place where you’d want bacteria, but unfortunately for everyone who doesn’t like a dash of staphyloccus on their spaghetti, they love hanging out right where you prepare your food. That’s because raw meat is swarming with bacteria. And if you don’t properly clean your prep area with warm, soapy water and disinfectant, they’ll keep hanging out after the meal like the worst dinner guests imaginable. Oh, and you know that cutting board you made in tenth-grade woodshop? If you’re still using it, it’s time to stop—wooden cutting boards give germs a more porous surface to hide away in than plastic ones.


If you’re worried that you’ll have trouble falling asleep tonight, thinking about all the germs hiding in your home, it’s about to get worse. When you hit the hay, all of the germs you’ve picked up throughout the day crawl into bed right along with you. The sweat your sheets absorb from your body creates a great environment for them to multiply. If that’s the stuff of giant-bacteria-filled nightmares, you can sleep easy if you just wash your sheets every week or two.

TV remote

Here’s another reason to hate sharing the remote: each time you do, you’re probably passing off bacteria. Besides the number of hands that obsessively touch the remote, there’s also the fact that people like to snack while they watch, leaving behind food particles and fueling bacteria growth. If you want to watch Netflix without worrying you’re going to be the subject of a new episode of Medical Mysteries, clean your remote with a disinfectant wipe once a week.


Even if you make everyone take off their shoes before traipsing around your home, they’re still walking around in their gross sweaty socks and both spread germs. Actually, the living room carpet can hold thousands of bacteria in any given square inch—which makes the three-second rule seem a lot less reasonable. If you don’t want to catch whatever is on your houseguests’ feet, vacuum your carpet once a week, and consider steam cleaning at least once a year.

Kitchen sponge

Your closest ally in the fight against germs might be a double agent. Not only do sponges pick up germs and food residue as you use them to clean, they also provide a moist environment for germs to flourish. In fact, the whole kitchen sink is one of the germiest places in the home for that same reason. To get them back on your side, wash both with bleach and water, and if you want to go the extra mile, heat your sponge in the microwave for two minutes after every use.

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