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  • The Merge

11 Very Germy Spots in Your Home That You Are Probably Not Cleaning

Feeling pretty confident about your home's cleanliness? It might be time for a reality check, as some unexpected germ hotspots are lurking in the shadows.

Fear not! We're here to help you uncover these hidden germ factories and guide you on how to banish them for good.

Let's explore 11 often-neglected, germy spots and learn how to make them shine with cleanliness.

Toothbrush Holder

toothbrushes in toothbrush holder that can have germs

You might not realize it, but your toothbrush holder is a cosy home for bacteria. Moisture and toothpaste residue makes it an ideal environment for germs to thrive.

Moreover, a toothbrush holder and the toothbrushes it holds are frequently in the blast zone of the faecal bacteria that scatter whenever you flush the toilet because it typically sits close to the toilet. Once airborne, these microorganisms have been demonstrated to settle on anything nearby, according to a 2021 University of Arizona study released in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.

To properly clean it, take a scrub brush or an old toothbrush with soap and water, and get into all the crevices. If your holder is dishwasher-safe, you can also place it in the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning.

Light Switches

light switches can be dirty

These small but highly-touched surfaces can accumulate a lot of germs, especially in high-traffic areas like the kitchen or bathroom. To clean light switches and electrical outlets, use a microfiber cloth dipped in a mild bleach solution or an alcohol-based cleaner. Be sure to wring out the cloth well to avoid moisture seeping into electrical components.

Remote Controls

touching your remote control buttons collect germs

From the living room TV remote to the one controlling your bedroom fan, these devices can collect bacteria and viruses from frequent handling. To clean them, first, remove the batteries. Then, mix equal parts rubbing alcohol and water, dampen a microfiber cloth, and gently wipe the remote's surface. Use a cotton swab dipped in the alcohol solution to clean between the buttons.

Door Handles/Knobs

door handles attract a lot of germs from contact

Every entry and exit point in your home is a potential germ transfer zone. Consider the bathroom door handle after someone hasn't washed their hands properly – yikes! Wipe down handles and knobs regularly using a disinfectant spray or wipe, focusing on areas where hands frequently come into contact.

Sponges and Dish Towels

dirtiest germ spots at your house

According to research from NSF International, the go-to global organization for establishing public health standards and certifications, the sink sponge is a veritable Noah’s ark in the diversity of microorganisms it contains.

Sponges can harbour bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella, while damp dish towels make perfect breeding grounds for mould and mildew. To clean sponges, wet them thoroughly and microwave for 1-2 minutes, or run them through the dishwasher's high-temperature setting. Launder dish towels in hot water, and replace them every few days to avoid bacterial buildup. (And never microwave a dry sponge, which could catch fire.)

Handles and Buttons of Kitchen Appliances

the buttons of home appliances are germs hotspot

Think about how often you touch your refrigerator, microwave, and oven handles while preparing meals. Now, think about how often you clean them – not so comforting, right? To sanitize these surfaces, use a disinfectant wipe or a cloth soaked in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water, focusing on areas where hands come into contact.

Soft-side Lunchboxes

lunch boxes can be very dirty

The interiors of lunchboxes can become a breeding ground for bacteria due to food spills, moisture, and daily use. To clean them, wipe the interior with a cloth soaked in warm, soapy water, then rinse with a damp cloth or simply throw them in your washing machine for a good wash. If yours can't be machine-washed, Good Housekeeping advises giving it a quick clean-down with vinegar spray and a spritz of food-safe disinfectant spray.

Open the lunchbox and allow it to air-dry overnight.

Pet Bowls

pet bowls contains a lot of germs

Your pets might not mind a little extra bacteria, but you should. Pet bowls can accumulate bacteria from leftover food and saliva. To keep them clean, wash them daily using hot, soapy water and a brush/sponge designated for pet dish use. This will prevent cross-contamination with human dishes.


wallets are very dirty

Our bags, backpacks, and wallets come into contact with a variety of surfaces throughout the day – from countertops to public transportation. To clean the exterior, use a disinfectant wipe or a cloth dampened with a mild soap solution. For leather bags, make sure to use a leather-safe cleaner. For the interior, empty the contents and vacuum out any debris before wiping it down with a cloth. For wallets, pay special attention to card slots and pockets, as they can collect dirt and debris over time.

Reusable Shopping Bags

reuable shopping bags

While they're great for the environment, reusable shopping bags can accumulate germs from grocery store conveyor belts, shopping carts, and the trunk of your car. To clean them, toss machine-washable bags into the washing machine, or hand wash with soap and water for bags that aren't machine-safe. Make sure to air-dry them thoroughly before using them again, as moisture can encourage bacterial growth.

Garbage Bin Lids

garbage can lids are very dirty

Garbage bin lids are touched every time we throw something away, making them a source of cross-contamination. To clean them, use a disinfectant spray or a cloth soaked in a vinegar-water solution (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water). Pay extra attention to the handle area, as it's the most frequently touched part of the lid. Don't forget about the inside of the bin, too – give it a thorough cleaning with a hose and mild detergent at least once a month.

Armed with this knowledge, you're now ready to tackle those sneaky germy spots that have been hiding in plain sight.

Regular cleaning of these areas will not only help keep your home fresh and clean but also protect you and your family from potential health hazards. Remember, cleanliness is next to godliness – so get scrubbing and show those germs who's boss!


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