Top 5 germ hot spots in your home

Your kitchen and bathroom stand guilty of being the dirtiest rooms in your home. A quick clean of these germ hot spots will benefit both house and health.

By Heather Camlot

2 germ-filled areas in your home
©istockphoto.com/debreny
First, the bad news: Our homes are filled with germs. A lot of germs. And while a safe level of germs can actually strengthen our immune systems, we certainly don't want them multiplying and leading to a host of health issues.

Now for the good news: While you may be surprised by this list of worst offenders, we've got the dirt on how to get them clean.

1. Kitchen sponge
It's used for everything from scrubbing pots to cleaning countertops, but according to a study by NSF International, a non-profit organization dedicated to public health and safety, that kitchen sponge is the nastiest thing in the house.

"Sponges are the absolute worst," says Kim Dunn, the owner and operator of Molly Maid in Aurora, Oak Ridges, King City and Nobleton, Ontario. "The bacteria sits overnight and all it is doing is multiplying in a moist environment."

The NSF International study found that, after three weeks, 70 per cent of sponges develop coliform bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, which can cause serious infection in children, the elderly, pregnant women and immune-suppressed individuals.

To clean: Dunn suggests filling the kitchen sink with just enough water to cover the sponge, adding about an eighth of a cup of bleach and leaving it overnight.

2. Kitchen sink   
A kitchen sink has 100,000 times more germs than a toilet, according to the Hygiene Council, a group of the world's top experts in hygiene and hygiene-related fields. Plus, the NSF International study discovered that coliform was found in 45 per cent of sinks.

Along with being regularly wiped down, sinks (as well as countertops and cutting boards) should be regularly disinfected; otherwise, bacteria from unwashed foods and hands are just being moved around rather than removed. Don't forget to disinfect the drain plug, too, especially underneath it, which is a breeding ground for bacteria and mould, cautions Dunn.

To clean: Wash the sink with hot, soapy water and scrub down its surfaces each night with a 25 per cent bleach/water solution, says Dunn. 


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