When you think of household germs, you probably picture toilet seats and trash cans, right? Well, it turns out there are as many as 200 times more fecal bacteria on the average cutting board than on your porcelain throne. Yikes! Here are the best disinfecting strategies for five under-the-radar germs areas.
Note: If you’d like to use a non-toxic disinfectant to tackle these areas, it’s easy to make on your own! Try this simple DIY disinfectant recipe.
Cutting boards. The last place you want a boat-load of bacteria is on the surface you use to prepare vegetables and meat. Depending on the material, cleaning your cutting board can be as easy as throwing it in the dishwasher. However, other surfaces (like bamboo) have special needs. For details on different surfaces, read: Care for Your Cutting Boards.
Sponges. Sponges are pretty good at wiping down countertops, but they’re awesome at growing bacteria. Think about it. Sponges are warm, damp surfaces that spend all day coming into contact with bits of food and dirt. That’s basically Disneyland if you’re coliform bacteria. The best way to keep your sponges germ-free is to microwave them for two minutes on high once or twice a week. For more sponge tips, read: Keep Sponges Clean.
Kitchen faucet. See if this sounds familiar: You’re cooking a chicken breast for dinner. You put the raw chicken in the pan. Then you turn on the sink, wash your hands with soap and carry on with dinner duty. Seems fine, right? Wrong! Your faucet just got slammed with some raw chicken goo when you turned it on, but it never got cleaned. Situations like this can turn your kitchen faucet into a legitimate bacteria factory. To prevent this, be sure to clean and disinfect your kitchen sink once a week, paying special attention to the faucet.
Toothbrushes. Your mouth is not a clean place. Not by a long shot. But there is a darker danger lurking near your toothbrush: the toilet. It may not seem possible, but the E. coli bacteria from your toilet can actually jump onto your toothbrush, if they’re kept close together. So, give your toothbrush and toilet a buffer zone. They don’t need to be friends. Don’t be shy about buying new toothbrushes, either. You can clean a lot of places with the old ones!
Towels. This isn’t super-pleasant to think about, but whenever you use a washcloth, hand towel or bath towel, skin cells slough off your body and stick to the fabric. These cells then become food for bacteria, which thrive in damp environments. This can be really dangerous because those bacteria can be transferred back to your body and lead to things like staph infections on your skin. To clean your towels, wash them in scalding hot water at least once a week.