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More places to grow germs at home and better ways to combat them

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Reuters) – Do you have to suffer a toilet because of fear of germs? That's good, but how many times do you change your bath and hand towels?

When was the last time you cleaned your fridge, washed your microwave oven handles, or bleached your sink?

Yes, there are germs everywhere, but here we are talking about dangerous things that motivate us to use disinfectants and gloves, for example: flu viruses, influenza, salmonella, listeria, yeasts, mold, staphylococcus, E. coli and others.

But do you clean all areas that contain germs? The following are places that contain germs in the home:


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Some might think the toilet is the main bacterial collector, right?

No, because we're cleaning it with great concern, says microbiologist Charles Gerba, a professor of public health, environment and immunology at the University of Arizona.

"There's more bacteria in your kitchen sink than in the toilet after you flush. That's why your dog drinks from the toilet. He's smart than you think."

The bacteria are found on your toothbrush, bath towels, hand towels and soap.

Do you have to worry about that? Not unless you share the use of the bathroom with others.

Gerba explained that if it's your bacteria, it probably won't bother you. As for the disease, you should be concerned about germs of others, not germs.

Gerba is advised to change your towels at least every three or four days.


Keep an eye on your smartphone. It can carry more germs than toilet seats

Most places contain germs

The kitchen is one of the areas that contains germs most commonly in the home, especially since it prepares foods that spread Salmonella and E. coli.

"Recent household surveys have found that there are more bacteria on some meat cutting boards than in the toilet," Jerba said.

The pool is another reservoir of bad bacteria. "A lot of people melt raw meat products or chickens," he said.

NSF says you should use a bleach solution once a month to disinfect your kitchen sinks, and you should wash your dishwasher filters every week in the dishwasher. And don’t forget to wipe the faucet handles.

Multiple pieces contain sprouts in the kitchen

If you use a kitchen sponge or cloth to clean your kitchen sink, surrounding tools and cutting boards, it's no surprise that these items win the prize as the most polluted element in your home, Gerba states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 20% of all food-borne illnesses start with foods consumed at home.

A 2017 study found that 362 different bacteria live in kitchen sponges.

The solution offered by the study? Replace the sponge at least once a week.

What can worry you in the kitchen too?

"Refrigerator handles are usually bad because people are dealing with raw meat products and then opening the fridge to get something else without thinking," Gerba said.

"People tend to hang dirty kitchen towels to wipe their hands after processing the meat. Some people may leave the towel hanging for several days or weeks before washing."

Kids returning home from the playground or from the football are another source of potentially dangerous germs on your kitchen appliances.

According to the NSF Kitchen, one of the places with the most germs to contain and germinate is the pot of water in your coffee machine. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations to clean it.

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