Eliminating Hidden Germs Found in Your Home

How to eliminate hidden germs and bacteria in your home by Woodard Cleaning & Restoration in St. Louis, Mo.

Think your house is clean? While it may appear to be on the surface, every home is a germ magnet, hoarding endless amounts of germs in every nook and cranny! Germs hide out in unsuspecting areas, acting as the culprit for illness and contamination. For example, you probably wouldn’t guess that your toilet seat is a cleaner place to cut your vegetables than a cutting board, would you? It’s true; the average cutting board contains 200 times more fecal bacteria than a toilet seat. If that thought has your skin crawling, or, perhaps, never wanting to cook again, don’t worry; we’re going to show you where those germs are hiding, and how to eliminate those pesky, hidden germs that are lurking in your home.

Bedding & Sheets

How often do you wash your sheets? Most homeowners would say once a week – which seems perfectly reasonable, right? Well, when you take into consideration that bed sheets collect 0.1 grams of feces, salmonella, and E. coli after just one night’s rest, your weekly washing schedule suddenly seems downright wrong!

Germ Blasting Tip:

Don’t worry, you don’t have to quit your day job to wash your bedding every day; you can continue to wash your sheets on a weekly basis. Once a week, toss those germ-covered sheets into the washing machine, and wash them with the hottest possible water temperature. While using cold water saves energy and heating costs, cold water temperatures do not kill bacteria and germs. After the wash cycle is complete, throw the sheets into the dryer, also using the hottest setting to blast away E. coli. Repeat this cycle every week to enjoy a healthier rest.

Carpet & Rugs

Whether you’re walking on plush shag carpeting or an oriental area rug, know that your tootsies are coming into direct contact with approximately 200,000 bacteria per square inch. With that being said, a single square of carpet is 4,000 times dirtier than your toilet seat.

Germ Blasting Tip:

While frequent vacuuming greatly helps to lower germ levels, it is no match for the constant food particles, pollen, skin cells, and pet dander that make their way deep into the fibers. Your best bet is to treat your carpet and rugs to a professional cleaning every season (at least), and clean them yourself on a weekly basis to prevent excess E. coli, salmonella, bacteria, and germ buildup.

Television Remote Control

Picture this: it is Friday night, and you’re curled up on the sofa with the remote and a bowl of popcorn. As you channel surf, you grab a handful of popcorn and enjoy the salty goodness. Well, we hate to break it to you, but rhinovirus lives on the rubber buttons of your remote; which means, you’re eating more than popcorn as you snack and relax.

Germ Blasting Tip:

If you’re like most people in America, you’ve probably never cleaned your television remote control (aside from those times you spilled your beverage on it and gave it a quick wipe down). To get rid of remote control germs, spray it regularly with a disinfectant spray, and give it a deep cleaning on a monthly basis; use a toothpick to get in between crevices, or if you’re able, take the remote apart and clean each piece individually.

Towels & Wash Cloths

No surprise here, right? Whether you’re using a wash cloth to wipe down a countertop or your favorite fluffy bath towel to dry off after a shower, it makes sense that these items would be major attractors of germs, skin cells, and bacteria. To cut down on laundry, many homeowners re-use the towels that they dry off with after showering with the mindset that their bodies are clean, so their towels should be too. While that makes sense for many, the truth of the matter is that bacteria thrives and multiplies in damp environments, making your “clean” towel that you’re using after showering very counterproductive.

Germ Blasting Tip:

If re-using towels is a must in your household, be sure to never use them more than five times in a row, and always wash them immediately if they become heavily saturated. When washing your towels and wash cloths, follow the same guidelines for washing your sheets: use the hottest water temperature possible, and dry on a high-heat setting to blast away lingering germs.

Kitchen Sponges

A recent study of 30 different surfaces in 22 homes determined that the kitchen sponge contains more germs than toilet seats or bathroom faucets. In fact, more than 75 percent of sponges tested positive for coliform bacteria, which can cause food poisoning, and 18 percent of sponges had staph germs. Since kitchen sponges are used as cleaning supplies to cleanse and sanitize eating utensils, these statistics are stomach turning – literally!

Germ Blasting Tip:

To kill the bacteria found in your kitchen sponge, microwave it on high for two minutes; be sure the sponge is completely wet. When the time is up, carefully remove it and let it cool on a clean, dry surface. If you want to take things a step further, toss your sponge onto the top rack of your dishwasher the next time you run a load of dishes on the hottest cycle – do this prior to microwaving the sponge, and germs won’t stand a chance!