Hidden Harm : The Germs That Lurk Around The Home

May 22, 2012 No Comments by

Your dishcloth can kill! (or at least make you very poorly…)

Fight back against the germs that lurk in unexpected places around the home

  • Fridge

‘In a Dettol survey, 15 per cent of squeaky clean-looking fridges were heavily contaminated with bugs.

Keep It Clean: Clean it once a week with an odourless antibacterial and don’t neglect the door handles.

  • Dishcloth

Moisture, food and dirt left on dishcloths creates the perfect bacterial breeding ground, which ends up smeared over the next surface we’re trying to clean.
Keep It Clean: ‘Use paper towels for poultry or for floor spills, and boil your dishcloth every day in washing powder or on 90 degree C in the washing machine.’

  • Chopping board

The average chopping board is home to 50 times more bacteria than a loo seat, according to the Hygiene council-simply because we don’t perceive them to be dirty enough to warrant a regular deep clean.
Keep It Clean: Boards need to be cleaned at 82 degree C with washing-up liquid, then wiped with disinfectant. Use different-coloured boards to prevent contamination between raw and cooked rice.

  • Computer Keyboard

Also capable of being dirtier than a toilet seat is your computer keyboard.
Keep It Clean: ‘Tip it upside down and give it a gentle tap to remove any crumbs, then clean it with a Dettol wipe.

  • Dishwasher

You use it to sterilise your kitchenware, but how clean is your dishwasher?
Keep It Clean: ‘Always wash at 65 degree C to keep the dishwasher and its contents safe and hygienic-lower temperatures may be more economical but they won’t kill all the bacteria’.

  • Vacuum cleaner

Hoovers are like a meal on wheels for bacteria, according to the University of Arizona, where 50 per cent of vacuum brushes tested contained faecal bacteria, and 13 per cent were contaminated with the potentially fatal bug E coli.
Keep It Clean: Spray the brush with a disinfectant after every use and clean attachments once a week in hot, soapy water.

  • Washing machine

Washing pants and tea towels together at 30 degree C creates a bacterial soup. It’s better for the environment but not hot enough to kill germs.
Keep It Clean: Some washing machine manufactures recommend a very hot wash at least a month. ‘I wash at 90 degree C once a week to destroy bacteria that’s built up from laundry I have washed at too low a temperature’.

  • Facecloth

Even if it’s just used for your face it can harbour the Staphylococcus aureus bug. A flannel that’s used elsewhere on your body could contain a host of other bugs, too.
Keep It Clean: ‘Keep one flannel for every day of the week, and wash them with your towels at 90 degree C’.

  • Toilet brush

Has your toilet brush been with you for so long it feels like a family member?
Keep It Clean: You should replace it every six to 12 months. ‘Once it’s frayed or has loose bristles, it will not scrub adequately and will splash and spray toilet bowl water around.’

  • Toothbrushes

A study found that the average toothbrush contains ten million germs, including potentially fatal staphylococci, Streptococcus, E coli and candida.
Keep It Clean: Replace your toothbrush every three months.

  • Soap dispenser

Soap dispensers and kitchen taps can, ironically, be hotspot for germs, with 14 per cent of taps being contaminated with E coli, according to a Dettol survey.
Keep It Clean: ‘Try to use a no-touch hand wash, and soap dispenser daily with disinfectant wipes’.


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