The Secret Life Of Germs

Germs Are Not Gems

The bathroom is often assumed to be the most contaminated spot at home but is it really? Have you ever thought of identifying the germiest spots in your home?

Read on to identify some of the dirtiest spots in your home. Be warned, these facts might shock you!

Germs living with you

Before we move on to getting to know some of the dirtiest spots at home, we would first like to introduce to you some common bacteria.

As indicated by the Society for General Microbiology, with the right temperature, bacteria can multiply every 20 minutes. This leads to one of the reasons why individuals fall sick quickly.

Some germs that could get you sick include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus or staph – A genus of bacteria that causes pus and infects the skin.
  • Yeast – A type of fungus that grows as a single cell and may spread around your skin. Yeast is the culprit of vaginal yeast infection which is common among women.
  • Mold – Mold is a type of fungus that grows in multicellular filaments called hyphae. Molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or in some cases, skin irritation.
  • Escherichia coli (E.coli) – Commonly found in intestines, this bacteria may cause diarrhea.
  • Fecal matter – If water is polluted with feces, you can be infected and become sick. Fecal contamination of food is another form of fecal-oral transmission.

Now, that you’ve gotten to know some of the germs that are responsible for making you sick, let’s move on to identifying popular germ-filled spots at home.

The Kitchen

The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) in the United States of America (USA) found that sections where foods are kept or prepared had a greater number of bacteria and fecal contamination compared to other surroundings at home.

Other kitchen items that need to be cleaned:

  • Cutting boards
  • Coffee maker
  • Refrigerator (especially areas in
  • contact with raw and unwashed foods)
  • Kitchen sink and counter tops

Box: Keeping the kitchen dirt-free:

  • Use disinfectant wipes on the faucet, refrigerator and countertop.
  • Heat damp sponges in the microwave for a minute to kill bacteria.
  • Change dish towels a couple times a week.
  • Sanitise sponges and rags by running them through hot water to kill the bacteria.


It’s nothing unexpected that the place you scour dirt and grime off your body, holds bacteria. Due to the moisture from a hot shower, the bathroom is likely to be an ideal place for germs to develop.

Spots you should give more attention to include:

  • Shower stall
  • Faucets
  • Floor area around the toilet
  • Bath towels
  • Toothbrushes and toothbrush holders

Box: How do you clean it?

You can wipe surfaces and handles down with disinfectant once a day or couple of times every week. An old toothbrush may prove to be useful in cleaning small spaces.

Knobs, handles, and switches

Your hands are the culprit here as it leaves dirt and germs on everything you touch including door knobs, handles and switches. You are more likely to focus on bigger things to clean and easily overlook these small details during your cleaning session.

Other places that could be filled with but you might not notice include:

  • Bathroom light switches
  • Refrigerator handles
  • Drawer handles
  • Stove knobs
  • Microwave handles

Box: Fast and quick cleaning:

One of the quickest ways to go through your home and sanitise these small items is by using an anti-bacterial solution. Mix the solution with warm water and use a clean cloth to wipe surfaces you would like to sanitise. Remember to use rubber gloves to avoid the germs spreading to your hands and also carry a plastic bag with you to throw the wipes once you have used it.


This is not a specific spot but pets are part of your household. Pets can also carry germs into your home, especially when your pet shuffles between going outdoors and back in.

Other things include:

  • Bowls
  • Hard and soft toys
  • Stuffed animals
  • Pet bed

Box: Keeping it clean:

You can prevent your pets from bringing in dirt by washing or wiping their paws before letting them in. Not to mention, wash your pet bowls, hard and soft toys daily with warm soapy water to kill the germs living on it. It is equally important to wash stuffed animals as well by putting it into the washer and dry it out.

Sources: WebMD, Healthline