The 9 Dirtiest Spots in Your Home

The 9 Dirtiest Spots in Your Home

Germs in the Home

According to the Society for General Microbiology, some bacteria can divide every 20 minutes with the right temperature and nutrients. That’s why symptoms of illnesses show up so quickly after an infection. One study about the most contaminated objects in the home found over 340 different bacteria on 30 different objects.

The household germs that can make you sick are:

  • Staphylococcus aureus, or staph
  • Yeast and Mold
  • Salmonella
  • Escherichia coli, or E. coli
  • Fecal Matter
    But not all bacteria are harmful. Your body contains plenty of bacteria that doesn’t make you sick.

    How Germs Spread

    Germs can spread from person to person and person to surface. The same study about contaminated objects also suggested that several factors influence germ life.

    These factors include:

    • Surface Type
    • Living Habits
    • Lifestyle Practices
    • Cleaning Procedures

    Click through the slideshow to discover where germs are most likely to live in your home.

    The Kitchen

    The National Sanitation Foundation(NSF) found that areas where food is stored or prepared had more bacteria and fecal contamination than other places in the home. More than 75 percent of dish sponges and rags had Salmonella, E. coli, and fecal matter compared to the 9 percent on bathroom faucet handles.

    The other kitchen items that need frequent cleaning are:

    • Cutting boards
    • Coffee maker
    • Refrigerator, especially areas in contact with uncooked and unwashed food
    • Kitchen sink and counter tops

    Here are some tips for keeping these spots clean:

    • Use disinfectant wipes on the faucet, refrigerator surfaces, and countertop.
    • Heat damp sponges in the microwave for a minute to kill bacteria.
    • Soak sponges in a quart of warm water with half a teaspoon of concentrated bleach.
    • Change dish towels a few times a week.
    • Wash your hands before and after touching or handling food.

      Knobs, Handles and Switches

      Countertops, handles, and light switches are a few less-than-obvious places for germs. While many people assume that the bathroom doorknob would be the dirtiest, the NSF found other spots that ranked higher with bacteria.

      These include:

      • Bathroom light switches
      • Refrigerator handles
      • Stove knobs
      • Microwave handles

      You can clean these spots once a week with disinfecting wipes. It’s ideal to use a new wipe for every spot instead of reusing the same one.

      Makeup Bag

      The nooks, crannies, and bristles of makeup applicators are prime real estate for germs, especially if you carry your makeup bag outside the house. Germs that live on your makeup applicators can cause skin and eye infections.

      You may need to change how you store your makeup. Products should ideally be kept in a clean, dry space at room temperature. To keep makeup brushes clean, you can wash them once a week with regular soap and water or also use an alcohol spray on the brushes.

      Many doctors recommend replacing cosmetics every six months and throwing out eye makeup if you’ve had an eye infection.


      It’s no surprise that the place you scrub dirt and grim off your body holds bacteria. Due to the moisture from a hot shower, the bathroom is also a perfect place for germ growth. Spots you should pay special attention to include:

      • The shower tub
      • Drains
      • Faucets
      • Floor area around the toilet
      • Bath towels
      • Toothbrushes

      You can wipe surfaces and handles down with disinfectant on a daily basis and do a thorough cleaning once a week. An old toothbrush may come in handy for cleaning small spaces like around drains and faucets. You should also replace bathroom towels once a week and toothbrushes every three to four months.