What is the dirtiest thing in your house?

With all the news about Ebola, flu and other fast spreading germs, viruses and bacteria, many are looking for ways to stay a little more germ-free.

  • Are you thinking the dirtiest things in your house are the door handles, toilet seats, light switches and the kitchen sink?
  • Well theses can be pretty dirty, but, there is likely a dirtier thing.
  • One of the most germ infested places in your home are the towels in your kitchen and bathroom (especially that dish rag in your sink).

What is the dirtest thing in your house?

Kimberly-Clark Corporation commissioned a study and found that 89 percent of kitchen dish towels carried coli-form bacteria, which is found in both animal and human digestive tracts. Twenty-five percent of the towels were found to have E. coli. Yikes!

  • Charles Gerba, professor at the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, at the University of Arizona and author of the study, claims towels are more likely to be bacteria-ridden than any other item in your house. The reason: people wipe their hands on them and they are used to clean and dry counter tops that may have been exposed to raw meat products.

  • Towels also typically air dried in the sink or towel rack. The drying process is often several hours, which allows the bacteria to grow.

  • Cross contamination of food occurs. When you wipe your hands on a towel and then touch other items. Or, when you bring your hands to your mouth, you are infecting yourself.

    • With face and bath towels you may spread bacteria and viruses to others that come in contact with that towel.

The great news is, it's not difficult to prevent these germs from spreading.

Here is what you need to do to reduce this from occurring:

  • Wash or replace your towels every three or four days.

  • Use paper towels to clean areas where food is prepared, and to wipe your hands

  • Use vinegar and baking soda in place of fabric softener when washing your towels to strip away odors and to keep towels absorbent.

    • Fabric softeners or dryer sheets are silicone based products that coat the cotton fiber impeding their absorbency.

  • If you want to extend the time between washing these items, dip kitchen towels in a diluted bleach solution (two teaspoons of bleach per gallon of sink water), then, set out to dry.

  • Place those yellow sponges (with the green scrubby surface) in the dishwasher & wash them each time you run the dishwasher.
  • Place a spray bottle of water and bleach solution under your sink. It is a handy way to sanitize your sink, counter top and dish rag. Especially if they have been exposed to food such as chicken, turkey or other raw meats.

    • Note: bleach will over time corrode the pump mechanism in the spray bottle. Consider re-purposing old an empty Windex bottle or other type of spray bottle when this happens.

    • Place a bottle of the bleach and water solution in the bathroom, this is a great way to get rid of any mold that pops up in the tub or shower.

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