What's the dirtiest place in your house?
Posted in Healthy Home on April 12, 2017 by FloridaHealth.com staff. Last modified on January 09, 2023. Read disclaimer.
In 2011, NSF International, swabbed a "sticky note"-sized area of many commonly found items from the homes and cars of 22 volunteer families. Then, they examined these samples for Coliform bacteria (which includes Salmonella and E. coli) to identify the most germ-infested items we come in contact with daily. What they learned was not what most of us would expect.
And why is this so important? Because 80% of all food-related illnesses originate from inside the home!
Can you guess the top 5 dirtiest items in most homes?
Below is a scrambled list of 5 items that research suggests are
things in the average home and 5 that are commonly among the
Instructions: Sort (click, drag and drop) each item, arranging what you believe to be the 5 dirtiest on the left and the 5 cleanest on the right. Then, compare your selection to what the research found:
:: Refrigerator handle
:: Dish sponge/rag
:: Bathroom light switch
:: Toothbrush holder
:: Coffee reservoir1
:: Toilet handle
:: Kitchen sink
:: Pet bowl
1. Coffee reservoir is the top of a coffee maker where you add water and grounds.
Click to see the correct order of items and cleaning recommendations
But, it seems like every study returns different results. In 2015 they tested the cleanliness of airplanes and determined the dirtiest surfaces to be 1) tray tables, 2) overhead air vents, 3) toilet flush buttons and 4) seat belt buckles. Shockingly, that study found bathroom stall locks inside airports to be extremely clean. (How can that be?!) They were harboring only 1/5 as many germs as the typical home's kitchen counter.
I guess the bottom line is to wash your hands well... and often. And avoid rubbing your eyes or nose.
It goes on to say that washing that sponge in the laundry machine or dishwasher, soaking it in vinegar or even cooking it on the stove are also ineffective. Their suggestion is to discard your old kitchen sink sponge each week or so and start fresh but, personally, i sure prefer using a dish scrub brush with plastic bristles.
Turns out, some of the dirtiest items in hotel rooms are the cleaning related: maid's cart, mops and sponges... which means the germs constantly get transferred from room to room. Also near the top of their germiest items list is bathroom sinks, toilets, bedside lamp switch and TV remotes. Most surprisingly, bathroom door handles averaged out to be one of the least germ-contaminated hotel room items.
The filthiest places in offices tend to be 1) break room sink faucet handles, 2) microwave door handles, 3) keyboards, and 4) refrigerator door handles. The cleanest tends to be, once again, the toilet seat!