The household germs that can make you sick are:
- Staphylococcus aureus, or staph
- Yeast and mold
- Escherichia coli, or E. coli
- Fecal matter
The kitchen: The 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 countertops
Bathroom: 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
- floor area around the toilet
- bath towels
Laundry: Wet laundry left in a machine, even for a short amount of time, can cause germs to flourish. You should transfer clean clothes to the dryer immediately after each wash. If clothes sit in the washer for more than 30 minutes, you may want to run a second cycle.
Home office and living room: Remote controls, computer keyboards, phones, and tablets are often shared by multiple family members and guests. In 22 households, the NSF found yeast and mold on the computer keyboard, remote control, and video game controller as well as staph on the last two items.
Surfaces also contribute to bacteria growth and diversity. For example, a carpet can hold up to eight times its weight in dirt and dust and may be dirtier than a city street, according to Chem-Dry.