10 Germiest Household Items That Can Become Your Worst Enemies
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10 Germiest Household Items That Can Become Your Worst Enemies

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With everything going on, most of us have been cleaning our homes like never before. While cleaning the most obvious things can indeed protect us from harmful bacteria, there are things that we sometimes tend to overlook. For instance, one of the germiest things in a household is not the toilet. Some items that are actually in plain sight can tend to harbor the most germs. Today, we are listing 10 such germiest things you should pay close attention to and regularly clean.

1. Mugs

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If you are an avid coffee lover like the millions of people around the world, then you too would have a favorite coffee mug. When we fill it up with coffee, add sugar, creamer, and then touch it with our lips and hands, we are providing a big opportunity for many organisms to thrive. With every touch, we keep transferring organisms, and leaving a mug of coffee for 45 minutes can cause environmental pathogens to land on it. These processes can encourage mold to grow. It is also extremely important to clean your mug once you have used it. If you leave cream or sugar in your mug for even a day, it can cause mold to grow.

2. Pillows

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Image: Sarah Boudreau

Pillows help us get a good night’s sleep by supporting our head and neck throughout the night. This reduces neck pain or stiffness when we wake up in the morning. The National Sleep Foundation however, recommends that we change pillows every 1-2 years. Why? Because every time we use them, they absorb body oil, skin cells, and hair. Once it reaches a specific accumulation period, your pillow will start to emit an odor. Not only that, this also creates the perfect environment required for dust mites to thrive. The only way to stop your favorite pillow from getting ruined is to add a protectant case in between the pillow and pillowcase. Also, make sure to wash your pillowcase at least every six months.

3. Loofah

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Mold can harbor in loofahs and sponges alike, as well as germs, skin cells, and remnants of dirt, oil, and grime that we scrub off of our bodies. If you use the same loofah for a long period of time, it can cause bacteria to spread inside your pores and prevent you from really cleansing yourself. According to experts, it’s better off to replace them every 2-3 weeks to prevent transmitting bacteria. If you are all about conserving money, then rinse the loofah after use, dry it out thoroughly and hang it in a cool place. Even if you don’t use it, you should still clean it at least once a week.

4. Old appliances

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Common home appliances like the dishwasher, washer, dryer, and water heater will last for as long as 10-15 years; that is if you maintain it properly. Experts say energy-efficient home washing machines can be a haven for bacteria because they wash clothes at lower temperatures. Like that, eco-friendly dishwashers that consume less electricity and produce low heat are also a haven for bacteria. If you do own these products, it’s extremely important that you use appropriate cleaning supplies to get rid of hot spots every few months. If you do not clean the machines, you are simply cross-contaminating things every time you run a cycle.

5. Mattresses

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You spend about one third of your life on your mattress, so without a doubt, it plays a huge role in your life. If your mattress is older than 8 years, it might be time to get something new. Like pillows, mattresses can accumulate dirt, dust, oil, grime, hair and everything you come in contact with. This creates the perfect environment for bacteria, bed bugs and dust mites to thrive. Also, when you don’t get the comfortable sleep like you once had, it might be time to think about replacing your mattress and getting a new one.

6. Towels

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After a good shower, we dry ourselves off with the help of towels. But, what’s the point of taking showers if we are going to keep contaminating ourselves? Towels are known for harboring all kinds of gross microorganisms. When towels stay damp for 20 minutes or longer, that allows mildew and bacteria to breed. A test found that 18% of the towels tested in people’s homes were harboring unsavory organisms that increased the chances of developing allergies and more. Experts suggest that you dry your towels before leaving them in the hamper as well as washing them with hot water after each use. Additionally, you should change your towels at least every 2 years since they tend to lose their absorbency after this time period.

7. Shower curtains and bathtub

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Your bathtub isn’t quite as pristine as you might assume. If there’s any standing water after your shower session, it acts as the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold. The best way to reduce the growth of bacteria is to dry off the surface of the tub or shower after each use. Your shower curtain also falls within the same category. Experts suggest you wash the curtains and liners at least once a week with hot water.

8. Electronics

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There are other places, outside of the kitchen and bathroom, where you might want to focus your cleaning habits. Your stash of electronics such as the remote controls, computer keyboards, WiFi routers, gaming consoles and other equipment that you and your entire family come in contact with, can contain thousands of bacteria. It’s always a good practice to use sanitizing wipes on them at least once a week. Keep in mind that you should use a scratch-free product designed specifically for use on electronics and touchscreen surfaces.

9. Sheets

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Like your bed and your pillows, the sheets should also be washed at least once a week to prevent bacteria from thriving. When they are improperly maintained, it gives dust mites and other micro organisms the opportunity to thrive. This could be bad for you, especially if you are someone with allergies.

10. Coffee reservoir

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For most of us, coffee is the fuel that keeps us running. While we might occasionally clean the visible parts of a coffee maker, there’s one that we overlook; which is the reservoir. A study found that there are over 50,585 average normalized microorganisms per 10 square centimeters of the reservoir; making it one of the top 10 germiest places in your home. In order to protect yourself from contamination, you should follow the cleaning instructions provided by your coffee maker’s manufacturer.

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