Yuk! The Top 10 Dirtiest Surfaces in Your Home

Germs are everywhere. It’s kind of scary that they have the power to influence our lives so extremely, yet we can’t even see them without a microscope. Thinking about their existence too much has the power of pushing you over the edge into obsessive compulsive disorder.

Yet you need to strike a balance between ignorance and obsession to live a healthy life. You need to know which surfaces attract the most germs and which surfaces must be cleaned and sanitized the most often to keep the germs under control.

You can probably guess which surfaces are the dirtiest, the general ones such as the kitchen counter and the bathroom floor. But there are other less obvious surfaces that you need to take note of.

What are Germs?

Germs are tiny organisms, living things that cause sickness. They can be categorized as viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa. Basically germs are little creatures that acquire nutrients from their surrounding environments to live.

Where do germs come from? No one really knows, but at least we have figured out how they are spread around. They’ve been labelled “the most dangerous things on Earth” because until Louis Pasteur came onto the medical scene, they were unkillable. His discoveries including microbial fermentation and vaccination helped save innumerable lives.

How to Prevent the Spread of Germs

The following are a few pointers taken from Good House Keeping to ensure that the spread of germs is limited in your home. Obviously you can’t keep all germs away. And the irony is that as much as we hate them, we do need the germs to an extend.


Studies show that keeping your child in a too clinically clean environment will cause their immune system to become weak. So you don’t have to turn into an obsessive cleaner, if you have good regular cleaning habits in place you and your family will be safe.

First close the toilet, then flush. Leaving your toilet open while flushing, will launch any germs present into the air. They will land on the floor, the door, the faucet handles and could even launch an attack on your nearby toothbrush.

Regularly change your sheets and towels. Germs love living in dirty places. Add a bit of dampness to the mix, and the germs will think it is Christmas. You could possibly consider switching to disposable paper towels for your bathroom to prevent the unnecessary spread of germs.

Regularly scrub your child’s school gear. We may not know the origin of germs, but we do know that they can spread at a lighting fast speed. At school your child is exposed to numerous sources of germs. An easy way for the germs to travel into your home, is a lunchbox or backpack. Use a disinfectant spray such as Lysol to tackle the backpack, outside and inside. If possible, you can even put the backpack through the washing machine. For the lunchbox, try to purchase a dishwasher-safe option.

Tackle touch-points in your home. Some areas in your house get touched more often than others. The refrigerator handle, light switches, remote controls, doorknobs, faucets, phone handsets and computer keyboards are all regularly used by your whole family. These areas need to be sanitize often to prevent germs from setting up camp in your home. You need to also clean your children's toys regularly. Check which ones are dishwasher-safe, otherwise use a bleach and water solution to clean them. Stuffed animals can be washed in NSF-certified washing machines or simply soak them in a bleach solution.

The Most Germ-Infested Places in Your Home

Are you ready for the list of top 10 dirtiest places? Viral Nova created a list of 21 items, these are a few of the highlights of areas that need special attention in your home.

No. 1: Bath mats

They get wet every day and they remain in the damp bathroom, often times in the dark. Damp and dark is an environment where germs thrive.

How to clean it: If possible wash your bath mats in your washing machine. Otherwise regularly soak them in a bleach and water solution to get rid of the unwanted germs.

No. 2: Remote controls

Most people watch television every day, or at least a few times a week. Remote controls have a knack for getting excessively dirty. You might be a diligent hand-washer, but you might not be able to say the same of your teenager. Often you sit and snack in front of the telly and then change channels, so the sources of germs are numerous.

How to clean it: Use disinfectant wipes to regularly clean them or give them a good bleach scrub with an old toothbrush or other small cleaning brush.

No. 3: Pillows

Every night you sweat and drool on your pillow while sleeping. Germs accumulate on any surface that is used often. Simply changing the pillowcases are not enough, you need to wash the pillow every few weeks as well.

How to clean it: Soak your pillow in a bleach and water solution, place it in the sun to dry. Germs hate sunlight, it will instantly kill them. Check the washing instructions to see if you can machine wash your pillow and then sun dry.

No. 4: Bed sheets

You don’t want to know how much skin you shed each night! You also sweat and your sheets can soak up other bodily fluids as well. Plus, you usually get into your bed every night, meaning the germs have lots of time to multiply.

How to clean it: Wash your sheets regularly on the highest heat setting of your washing machine.

No. 5: Kitchen sponges

They are used to clean other things, but they have a knack of collecting germs themselves, especially if you also wipe off kitchen counters with your sponge.

How to clean it: You should be replacing your sponge every month or so. You can also soak it in a bleach solution for five minutes every week, or microwave for two minutes if you want it to last for longer than a month.

No. 6: Knobs, handles and light switches

You guessed it, your hands are transferring germs to these surfaces. Well, your hands, and the rest of the family. These are things that you use every day in your home, it’s inevitable that the surfaces will collect germs.

How to clean it: Spray with a disinfectant spray, or with a bleach and water solution, wipe down with a cloth. Do this at least once a week.

No. 7: Laundry basket

You use it to collect all your dirty clothes for laundry day and while your clothes are waiting to be cleaned, your laundry basket becomes a lovely dark space for the germs to multiply.

How to clean it: For hard laundry baskets, clean with a surface disinfectant, cloth bags you can put through the washing machine.

No. 8: Cutting board

Prepping for your daily meal means you often chop things up. Wiping down the cutting board after use will not be good enough to chase the germs away.

How to clean it: If you are using a plastic board, soak in near-boiling water. If you are using a wooden board, you can microwave it for a minute to kill the germs.

No. 9: Cell phones

Studies have shown that a phone is one of the dirtiest items we touch every day. Your phone moves from touching your ear, to touching your hands and fingers, to touching random surfaces such as a coffee house table or your kitchen counter. Germs flying all over the place!

How to clean it: Wipe it with a disinfectant wipe at least once a week, while switched off.

No. 10: Coffee Makers

Inside your machine a dark and moist environment beckons the germs closer. You most probably use your machine every day, or at least every week, so you need to take care of keeping it as clean as possible.

How to clean it: Make a mix of 50% water and 50% white vinegar and run it through your machine’s cleaning process at least once a month.

Are There Any Safe Spaces in Your Home?

In the end germs can collect on any surface in your house, especially the ones regularly touched. Also, any items used regularly by yourself or family members need to be cleaned regularly. In small doses germs are harmless, big doses and you can start getting serious problems such as runny tummies or other sicknesses.

If you are brave enough, check out the other dirty items found in your home.

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