You Probably Didn't Know There Are Tons Of Germs In These 7 Everyday Spots & Yikes

by Caroline Burke

Sometimes, it's better not to know how much bacteria surrounds you in your daily world. It's literally unavoidable, which is why you can't sweat the notion of germs too much, otherwise you might willingly confine yourself to a literal bubble. But there are certain spots you come across in your everyday life that are exponentially more concentrated with germs and bacteria than other places, and it's good to know about them so that you can minimize the level of risk you associate with each one. Knowing where most germs hide isn't just a suggested practice; it's basically one of the final steps of adulthood.

The world can be a yucky place, especially in areas that you'd initially trust. This is always a kind of upsetting reality, but it becomes scary when you consider the severity of the 2017 to 2018 flu season, which is rapidly on its way to being one of the most deadly flu seasons in recent history. In the midst of such an epidemic, the idea of being healthy leaves the theoretical and becomes something of immediate importance.

You obviously can't avoid all of the germs in the world, but you can certainly make an effort to keep your home cleaner and to avoid unnecessary bacteria whenever possible. Here are seven unlikely germ hot spots to take into consideration the next time you go on a cleaning spree.

Your Kitchen Faucet

Your kitchen faucet is constantly moist, which makes it an ideal location for bacteria to grow. What's more, tap water isn't sterile, and over time, bacteria can actually grow over the faucet screen and create a wall of pathogens, which leads to something creepily named a "biofilm." Gross.

About once a week, you should make a point to remove the faucet screen and soak it in a bleach solution. If you can't do that, consider wiping down your faucet daily with a disinfectant, and keep it as dry as possible.

The Office Teakettle

Most office kitchens are actually more germ-filled than office toilets, according to a study by the UK company Initial Washroom Hygiene. The dirtiest spots are teakettles and kitchen doors, both of which are contaminated with higher levels of germs than toilet doors.

The solution? An obvious one is to bring your food from home rather than dipping into the shared grub. Or, if you need a snack in the middle of the day, consider using a paper towel to open the door.

Your Cat's Food Bowl

According to a 2011 study by the National Science Foundation, if you've got a fur baby sharing your space, their food bowl is one of the dirtiest germ hot spots in your whole home.

You might not be washing your pet's food bowls as often as you wash your own, but you really should. Keep in mind, though, you shouldn't scrub pet dishes with the same materials you use to scrub your own dishes. Try putting it in the dishwasher every time you run a load, or setting aside a separate sponge for it.

Your Phone

If you've been looking for a reason to unplug, look no further: Your cell phone is just plain nasty. Cell phones are known to potentially carry tons of germs, from staph to salmonella. Yeah, it's pretty gross.

Wiping down your phone with a disinfectant weekly is the least you can do, given how much grime your phone probably comes into contact with every day.

Your Vacuum Bag

Seeing as how the purpose of your vacuum bag is to suck in and hold onto dirt and dust, it's no surprise that it also holds a whole lot of germs. Vacuum bags are dirtyso dirty, in fact, that according to Prevention, 13 percent of them tested positive for E.coli in a University of Arizona study.

Making sure to clean out your vacuum bags on a regular basis should do the trick. When you do clean them, be sure to do it outside, rather than dumping it over your trash can inside, which might just let all of those airborne pathogens back into your apartment.

Your Cutting Board

How often do you clean your cutting board? If I had to guess, you're probably not doing it as often as you should. But it turns out, not cleaning your cutting board could increase your risk of becoming one of the 80 million people who get food poisoning every year, according to the Daily Beast.

Ideally, you should have two different cutting boards: one for fruits and veggies, and one for meats. That way, you're certain you won't get salmonella in your salad from that chicken you chopped up earlier.

Your Dish Sponge

Dish sponges are the kings of the germ world. They are so ironically filthy that it's almost laughable, except not at all, because that's also terrifying. CBS News reports that recent research from the National Science Foundation revealed that 77 percent of sponges could contain coliform bacteria, and 86 percent may have yeast and mold. And this is for something that's supposed to clean other things for you. Sigh.

Pro tip: Microwave your sponge for two minutes daily. This will kill most of the bacteria that will inevitably accrue in that moist cess pool. Also, try to swap out sponges every two weeks.