You probably think your toilet is the dirtiest place in your house but there are a number of items that harbour more germs than where you ease yourself daily. The following surfaces have more germs than the average toilet seat, and you you definitely handled one of them today.
Your Clean Laundry
Your underwear will transfer at least 100 million E. coli bacteria to the washing machine, making it a breeding ground that can contaminate other clothing. This is worse with front-loading machine, as water settles at the bottom and creates the moist environment bacteria loves.
The toilet seat however gets too dry to support a very large bacterial population. Disinfect your machine by washing a load of whites with bleach first, or cleaning your washer with bleach at least once a month. To avoid spreading bacteria, wash underwear separately with hot water
Smartphone or Tablet
In a 2013 study, British researchers swabbed 30 tablets, 30 phones, and an office toilet seat. The tablets had up to 600 units per swab of staphylococcus and the phones had up to 140 units. The typical toilet seat had less than 20 units.
Reduce your exposure to germs by cleaning your electronic screens with screen wipes or a damp, soft cloth—or leaving them out of the bathroom in the first place.
Your Chopping Board
Researchers at the University of Arizona found that the average cutting board has 200 times more faecal bacteria than a toilet seat. One thing responsible for this is raw meat, since loads of faecal bacteria originate in animals’ internal organs.
The solution to this is to wash plastic cutting boards with liquid dish detergent and water, then soak thoroughly in a solution of 2 teaspoons bleach and 1 gallon of water. For wooden boards, follow the same procedure but use 2 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water.
Clicking away at your computer while you eat may be responsible for the last “office bug” you picked up. When British researchers swabbed 33 keyboards in a London office, they found that they harboured up to five times the germs of a toilet seat. To prevent an infection, wash hands, and surfaces, often.
Arizona researchers collected 1,000 dishcloths and sponges in kitchens, and found that 10 percent contained salmonella. Each square inch of their surfaces contains about 134,630 bacteria, 456 times more than the number on a toilet seat.
Sponges harbour the largest amount of E. coli and other faecal bacteria in the average home, mostly because they aren’t replaced as often as they should. To reduce germs, toss dishcloths in the washing machine and sponges in the dishwasher, or heat in the microwave while damp for 30 seconds.
The device you use to change channels is more germy than you know. Anything that’s been on your hands before you started surfing collects on your remote. Also, your remote collects dust sitting on your couch, gets sat on, and may even have crumbs on it, if you like to eat in front of the TV.
Furthermore, grime can get stuck in the nooks and crannies between the buttons, so cleaning it can be a challenge. Every now and then, wipe down your remote using a bit of dish soap or an antiseptic wipe. Ensure that you clean in between the buttons to destroy germs left on it.