What's dirtier than your toilet seat?
You'll never look at your toothbrush the same way
Mon 27 Sep, 2010 01:00 pm BST
© © DPix Center
Alas, disinfecting your toilet bowl may well lull you into a false sense of how germ free your home really is.
We've compiled a list of places and things that are really quite dirty and potentially unsafe.
ToothbrushIf you flush the toilet without putting the lid down, the water particles are sprayed up to a distance of six feet, landing on your sink and toothbrush. Close the lid before you flush, and disinfect the taps, the flush handle and door handles often.
Kitchen sinkYour kitchen sink contains 100,000 times more germs than your bathroom. Sponges are a trap for germs and can carry bacteria such as e. coli and salmonella. Your chopping board, brace yourself, has about twice as much faecal bacteria than your average toilet seat.
Wash your sponges in the dishwasher and replace them often. Use separate chopping boards for meat, fish and vegetables, and wash and disinfect them closely after each use.
Computer keyboardWhy fret about the cleanliness of your office bathroom when your computer keyboard carries a year's worth of nose pickings and breadcrumbs? More importantly, your qwerty carries all sorts of bugs that cause food poisoning.
Flip your keyboard over, shake hard, and then wipe the surface with antibacterial solution. And don't forget your computer mouse.
Mobile phoneYour mobile is delightfully small and versatile, which is precisely why it tends to carry 18 times more potentially harmful germs than your average toilet's flush handle. Indeed, your phone could be carrying staph bacteria, which can cause everything from skin infections to meningitis.
The same goes for your house and office phones.
Turn the device off and wipe it with a antibacterial towelette. Repeat often.
Your laundryYou might feel that the laundry you've just done is truly clean - think again. Research has found that intestinal viruses like hepatitis A and e.coli can be transferred between clothes during a wash.
Use bleach where possible, and wash fabrics at the highest possible temperature. If you have a dryer, use it at the highest setting allowed to kill the remaining germs.
TV remoteIt is one of the most used and least cleaned items in your home, and it is also one of the top places to transmit infections. In your hotel room, it is most likely the dirtiest surface there.
Sanitize it with antibacterial wipes.
Your bedYour bed is rife with bacteria, dust mites and viruses.
Change your bedding weekly and wash it and dry it at high temperatures, using bleach if you can.
You should have your pillows and duvets professionally cleaned and replace your mattress every few years.
Your petThere is nothing like unconditional affection given by your pet - including the campylobacter bacteria, which is carried by up to half of dogs and cats, and can give you food poisoning.
Treat your pet with affection, then wash your hands.
Wider worldMoney, supermarket trolleys, elevator buttons, petrol pump nozzles, salad bars, public bathrooms, hotel rooms, candy bowls, your gym, sliced fruit in your cocktail... you name it, and it will be carrying many germs, some of them quite nasty.
Use common sense, as that may give you some protection against the rich tapestry of germ life.
- Wash your hands often with soap and hot water. Dry them afterward.
- Avoid, where possible, touching surfaces that are handled by the general public, such as bathroom door handles. You may wash you hands, but others don't.
- Do not handle food unless you've washed your hands.
- Avoid touching your face, including your nose and eyes, unless you have just washed your hands.
- Stay away from people who are obviously sick.