The 10 Dirtiest Places in Homes

silverware in a drawer with organizer

Keeping your home clean is an important task, and it’s something that needs constant work. While you undoubtedly have a cleaning routine you cycle through, you may not know that your routine could be missing some of the germiest and dirtiest areas of your home.

1. Silverware Tray

silverware in a drawer with organizer

A commonly missed spot, this high touch area catches a lot of crumbs. To clean a silverware tray, regularly soak it in warm water with a small amount of dish soap. Alternatively, run it through the dishwasher on the top rack.

2. Coffee Machine

The carafe or reservoir of your coffee machine may house lurking germs. This is because the water reservoir commonly contains germs that can make you sick with illnesses such as staph, strep, or even E. coli. Was the water reservoir and carafe at least once a month with warm, soapy water. Also flush it with white vinegar mixed with water to kill germs.

3. Bathroom Sinks

The bathroom sink itself, and the tools and hardware around it, are notoriously germy. Dirty hands transfer germs to sink handles, as well as the top of your soap pump. Other items surrounding your sink—like your toothbrush and its holder—are a breeding space for germs and grime.

Use an antibacterial wipe to disinfect the sink, handles, and soap pump on a regular basis. Run your toothbrush holder through the dishwasher or wipe it down with warm water mixed with vinegar. Clean a toothbrush by mixing two teaspoons of baking soda in a cup of water. Soak your toothbrush in the mixture for at least 15 minutes and then rinse.

4. Cutting Boards

wooden cutting board surrounded by herbs and vegetables

According to CBS News, 18 percent of cutting boards house potentially dangerous coliform bacteria, while 14 percent harbor molds and yeasts. These cooking tools should be cleaned after every use, whether that be in the dishwasher or by hand with hot water and antibacterial dish soap.

5. Garbage Can

The fact that you take the trash out regularly doesn’t mean the garbage can itself is clean. As reported by HGTV, an average garbage container harbors an astounding 411 germs per square inch. Get rid of the germs by wiping the outside of the can with a sponge that has soap and hot water on it at least once a week. Spray the inside the can with disinfecting spray at least once a month.

6. Stove Knobs

These high touch spots house quite a bit of grime. According to CBS News, 14 percent of stove knobs have coliform bacteria present and 27 percent have molds and yeasts on them. Wipe them down once weekly with antibacterial wipes or remove them and wash them thoroughly with hot, soapy water.

7. Sponges

Have you ever noticed a gross stench radiating from the sponge in your sink? It’s because these are breeding grounds for grossness. Besides regularly replacing your sponges, you can ward off germs by placing them in the dishwasher’s top rack for a cycle once weekly, or dampening and microwaving them for ninety seconds.

8. Pet Toys

dog playing with rope toy

CBS News reports that 23 percent of pet toys contained potentially dangerous staph bacteria, making them an area of the home to frequently sanitize. Furthermore, yeasts and molds were present on 55 percent of toys tested. These toys should be scrubbed with soap and water. If possible, throw pet toys in the washing machine weekly and let them air dry.

9. Stair Railing

Stair railings are frequently touched by multiple household members, making them a germ hotspot. Common germs residing on a railing include E. coli, staph, and a host of other viruses. Wipe down the railing once monthly (or more) with a disinfecting wipe. If someone in your household is sick, or guests visit, increase the frequency of cleanings to maximize safety.

10. TV Remotes

Your TV remote is also touched by everyone, and many times people touch it while they’re snacking. This means lots of germs. Use a cotton swab lightly dampened with rubbing alcohol on remotes to safely clean them. Don’t forget to use an antibacterial wipe to clean remotes at hotels, too, to protect yourself from the germs of previous guests.

Unfortunately, germs reside in almost every area of our homes. Regularly sanitizing these germ breeding areas can help ensure a cleaner home and a healthier family.