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Top 3 Germiest Places in the Home

Top 3 Germiest Places in the Home

Keeping our homes clean is a never-ending task, so knowing where to focus our efforts can come in mighty helpful. Of course we know germs can linger in toilets or on dishes containing raw meat, we might overlook a few other common spots bacteria and viruses like to hang out. A quick wipe-down with diluted vinegar will clean up these offending spots quickly and easily.

1. Sponges and rags. When we wipe dishes or countertops with soiled rags, we’re simply transferring bacteria from one place to another. To make sure you’re actually ridding your kitchen of bacteria, wash sponges and rags with soap and hot water between uses or replace these items often. Dropping a sponge in boiling water or heating it (while wet) in the microwave for four minutes will kill most disease-causing germs. The sponge will be hot, so be careful when removing it from the microwave.

Another great option? Make your own quick-wipes: Store multiple squares of cotton cloth (think cut up old T-shirts or pajamas) in a container filled with a mixture of 1 cup water, 1 ounce liquid castile soap and 6 to 8 drops of your favorite essential oil (try antimicrobial lemon or tea tree). Wipe down counters with the wipes, then toss them in the wash and return them to the jar for reuse. Get many more natural cleaning recipes.

2. The remote control. Often used but rarely cleaned, remotes can harbor tons of germs, especially if you have kids. Dilute white vinegar in warm water, then wet a soft cloth with the solution. Wipe remote and dry with another soft cloth. And don’t forget video game controls and computer mice while you’re at it!

3. The vacuum. We think of the vacuum as a cleaning tool, not a home for germs. But vacuum brushes, bags and filters make great hiding places for germs like E. coli. Because food is sucked into the vacuum, bacteria can survive for a long time inside. To keep bacteria out, change vacuum bags often, and remove brushes and filters for a quick cleaning monthly. Clean the cavity of a bagless vacuum with vinegar or all-purpose cleaner and let it air dry.

Find out the 7 other germiest spots in your home.

7 Germiest Places in Public
What’s Lurking On Your Purse?
How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

Read more: Home, Health & Safety, Household Hints, Non-Toxic Cleaning

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Jessica Kellner

Jessica Kellner is the editor of Natural Home & Garden magazine, a national sustainable home and lifestyle magazine. She is dedicated to helping readers create more sustainable, delightful homes that are in tune with the natural world. She is also the author of Housing Reclaimed: Sustainable Homes for Next to Nothing, published by New Society Publishers in autumn of 2011. Email her at


+ add your own
2:19AM PST on Jan 4, 2013

Thanks for the share!

2:36PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

Thank you!

7:21PM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

I replace my sponges weekly. Ew, I'm cleaning my vacuum tomorrow.

5:36AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

6:49PM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

No surprise.

5:45AM PDT on Mar 16, 2012

I'm going to try putting my kitchen sponges in the microwave. I usually drop them in the silverware section of my dishwasher before I run it.

My husband got a really nasty cold and he shared it with me. I think I picked up his nasty ole germs off the TV remote.

I would never have thought about the vacuum, but it makes sense!!

Thanks for the information!!

4:28PM PST on Mar 8, 2012

Mouse, remote control etc...

1:21PM PST on Feb 22, 2012


2:01AM PST on Feb 19, 2012

Thank you for the eye-opener!

7:18PM PST on Feb 18, 2012

ooh, i love the idea for making your own quick-wipes!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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