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The Germiest Places in your House: Where to Clean Next

On the surface, your house may look perfectly clean and tidy but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t germs and bacteria lurking. Much of the bacteria found in our homes is perfectly harmless, however, there are some strains which can cause illness and should be avoided at all costs.

In this article, we will be considering research findings from NSF International, a health and safety organisation who sought out the spots in the average household where harmful bacteria tend to be found most prevalently. If you thought the toilet was the germiest place, you’re in for a surprise!



In the research from NSF International, several types of bacteria were tested for in swabs from everyday household items in a sample of real homes. The strains which cropped up most which can be detrimental to your health were:

  • Coliform bacteria: a family of bacteria which includes E.coli and Salmonella
  • Mould and yeast
  • Staph (Staphylococcus aureus): an indicator of the antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA




Chopping board

If your kitchen’s chopping board isn’t washed thoroughly, you could easily find it is harbouring bacteria. With all sorts of food being prepared here – including raw meat – it’s perhaps unsurprising that it finds itself on the list. Coliform bacteria was found on 18% of all chopping boards and 14% had mould/yeast present.


Kitchen counters

Another area where food is prepared, kitchen counters were also found to be notably germy. Whether it’s spillages or splatters, your counters can quickly get covered in remnants of food which can become a problem you may not even notice. In fact, a third of all households had Coliform bacteria on their kitchen countertops and 18% had traces of mould/yeast.


Kitchen handles and dials

Handles and dials across your kitchen – for example, hob dials, microwave controls, fridge handles and faucets – can become home to many different bacteria. It can be all too easy for your hands to transfer bacteria from uncooked or unclean food products onto these areas and indeed, handles and dials were found to have traces of all 3 tested bad bacteria. Up to 14% of these items tested positive for Coliform, 27% for mould/yeast and, worryingly, 5% for Staph.



With tech items being handled regularly, and often by many different members of the household, bacteria can easily accumulate on these items. Of all the keyboards, remotes, mobile phones and console controllers tested, no group of tech items was completely free of Coliform bacteria, Staph or mould/yeast. On average, over half of these items in the sample of households had mould/yeast present.


Pet toys and bowls

Although you may be thorough in cleaning your own dishes and belongings, what about your pet’s? Research found that pet toys had the highest incidence of Staph across all items tested at a startling 23%. What’s more, approximately half of toys and bowls contained mould/yeast.


Toothbrush holder

The toothbrush holder is clearly an overlooked item when it comes to cleaning, being one of the top germ-ridden spots in the average home. Being in a damp environment and often near the toilet makes this item a prime location for bacteria to thrive. Coliform bacteria (27%), mould/yeast (64%) and Staph (14%) were all found here.


Dish sponges

Surprisingly, and ironically, the germiest item in the home was the dish sponge. When cleaning your dishes, you are likely using an item with, on average, 200,000 times more bacteria per square inch than the toilet seat. Contact with a variety of foods and a damp environment means that in the NSF International sample, 77% of sponges were contaminated with Coliform bacteria, 86% with mould/yeast and 18% with Staph. You should frequently change sponges or give them a quick blast in the microwave post-use to reduce bacteria levels.


To help you maintain a clean and healthy household, Alpha Power Cleaners offer many professional cleaning products and pieces of equipment. From steam cleaners which can sterilise surfaces to carpet and upholstery cleaners which can blitz dust and dirt from floors and soft furnishings – we stock a variety of high quality cleaning equipment for sale or hire across the Midlands.

For more information, contact our friendly team today.


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