We may be in the midst of a heat wave here in Utah, but you don’t have to wait for cooler weather to think about staying healthy!
(Besides, it’s perfectly possible to catch a cold any time of the year. And I’m sure all of us can agree that catching a cold in the summertime is a miserable experience!)
Keeping your home clean and germ-free can go a long way toward keeping you and your family healthy. And since many homes tend to have the same “germ magnets” where germs like to congregate, tackling those areas first can be a great place to start!
So today I’ll be highlighting 11 different germ magnets that are often found in people’s homes. I’ve also included simple tips for reducing or eliminating bacteria in those spots for a cleaner, healthier home!
11 Unexpected Germ Magnets In Your Home
1. Cell Phone
Cell phones take the top spot on this list for a reason! We tend to take our phones with us everywhere, which is why they often carry all sorts of bacteria that can make us sick.
And because your phone frequently comes into contact with your face, nose, lips, and hands, it’s crucial to take the time to clean your phone regularly.
What To Do About It: A good old fashioned antibacterial wipe can make all the difference! Wipe down your phone thoroughly every few days, and make sure to clean your phone’s case too.
2. Handbags & Backpacks
Handbags and backpacks are often subjected to less-than-clean floors, like the ones in subway stations, public bathrooms, and other crowded areas.
Bacteria on those floors can catch a ride on the bottom of your bag when you set it down. And if you get home and set your bag on the kitchen table, that’s where the bacteria will end up too (yuck!)
What To Do About It: Hang your bag on a hook or off the back of a chair whenever possible to keep if off the ground, or set it on a chair or bench if you can’t hang it. And wash/wipe your bag clean regularly!
3. Your Wallet
Another thing that comes into contact with a lot of people’s hands is paper money. When something changes hands as often as money does, it is sure to end up contaminated by all sorts of unsavory substances.
(In fact, one 1996 study of single dollar bills found traces of cocaine on 80% of them!)
What To Do About It: Wash your hands after handling cash, or use hand sanitizer. (A drop of lemon essential oil works in a pinch too!)
4. Garbage Disposal
You may already use some sort of cleaner or my frozen lemon vinegar cubes to keep the inside of your garbage disposal clean. But it’s all too easy to forget about that rubber splash guard, and that thing can get really gross.
If that area isn’t kept clean, bacteria can end up spreading to your hands and dishes, which is definitely not what you want!
What To Do About It: At least once a week, flip the splash guard inside out and give it a good scrub with some hydrogen peroxide.
5. Refrigerator Door Seal
Another unexpected source of ickiness in our homes is the seal around our refrigerator doors! A University of Arizona study found that 83% of the refrigerator door seals they tested harbored common types of mold.
While common mold isn’t toxic, it is known to aggravate symptoms of asthma and allergies.
What To Do About It: Wipe down the seal around your fridge door regularly using hydrogen peroxide.
6. In-Ear Headphones
While your ears are pretty good at cleaning themselves, your earbuds (or in-ear headphones) are not! Every time you put them in, take them out, or set them down, they can pick up bacteria and transfer it to your ears and hands.
What To Do About It: Clean your headphones every few days with with an alcohol wipe or a Q-tip soaked with rubbing alcohol. If your headphones have removable pads, soak them in white vinegar to clean them up.
7. Computer Keyboard
Many people fail to clean their computer keyboards either because they don’t think about how dirty they can get, or because they can be a bit tricky to clean.
But it’s important to regularly clean anything you frequently put your hands and fingers on, including your computer keyboard!
What To Do About It: Unplug the keyboard first, then gently tap it to knock any crumbs loose. Use an alcohol wipe or a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol to wipe down the keys and the spaces in between them.
8. Toothbrush Holder
Your toothbrush holder may be playing host to more than just your toothbrush! A 2011 study found that 38% of the toothbrush holders they tested contained Coliform bacteria, a family that includes both Salmonella and E. coli.
What To Do About It: Store your toothbrush holder in closed cabinet or drawer, and run it through your dishwasher regularly to keep it clean. (If your toothbrush holder is hard to clean, consider replacing it with one that is open-sided.
Occasionally wiping down the lenses of your glasses with your t-shirt isn’t enough to get them truly clean. And since they spend a lot of time on your face, it’s important to keep them clean!
What To Do About It: Wash your eyeglasses gently with warm, soapy water. Dry them off with a coffee filter, which will absorb moisture without scratching the lenses or leaving behind lint or streaks.
10. Gym Equipment
Not only is keeping your gym equipment clean good etiquette at the gym, it’s just good hygiene! Gym equipment is covered in all kinds of bacteria, so keeping it clean can help keep you healthy!
What To Do About It: Be sure to wipe down your weights or machines both before and after your workout. This applies at both the gym and at home!
11. Fabric Decor
When it comes to keeping mattresses, upholstered furniture, and fabric decor clean, allergens and dust mites are two of the top concerns.
Allergens and dust mites can settle into the fibers of any sort of fabric. Clothing isn’t a big concern because we all wash our clothes pretty frequently, but fabric decor is all too easy to overlook!
What To Do About It: If the item is machine-washable, try to wash it around once a month or so. If you can’t put it through the wash, vacuum it often and spritz with a solution of water and white vinegar to keep it fresh.
What’s your best tip for keeping your home germ-free?