You probably consider yourself a tidy person. Your cleaning game is strong AF. You scrub the tub and toilet, and wash those dishes like a boss. But, your toilet isn't the grossest thing in your house. The really dirty items in your home are things you never would have guessed. From cutting boards to computers to your clean laundry, the things you use every day are actually bacteria farms, which is super gross. I consider myself in the Monica from Friends camp when it comes to cleaning, but even I didn't know about some of these filthy household items.
With an epic flu season raging, making sure things are clean is more important than ever for preventing the spread of germs. And, some of the things in your house that you're likely forgetting to clean on the regular can spread the flu and other viruses and harmful bacteria. Right about now, you may be considering sealing yourself in a plastic bubble because there seems to be no way to escape germs. But, before you do anything drastic, once you know which neglected household items to clean, you can significantly reduce the level of gross in your home. Because, in this case, knowledge is power. So, just what items are freaky filthy? These 10 items are dirtier than your toilet.
1. Your Phone Is A Filth Farm
While the thought of using an ancient payphone, which you already know is covered in bacteria, likely makes you nauseous, your own phone is the dirtiest item you own. According to The Health Site, your phone is dirtier than a toilet seat. "Studies show that 92 percent phones have bacteria on them with 16 percent containing E.coli, bacteria found in feces." What's more, "Since the screen is usually warm, bacteria thrives and transfers not just to our fingers, but also the face including the eyes, nose, ears and lips," The Health Site reported. Before you toss your phone in the trash, you can clean it up by running an alcohol wipe over it daily. And, for the love of god, stop taking your phone into the bathroom.
2. Your Computer Keyboard Is A Bacteria Bonanza
Besides your phone, your computer is probably something you use every day. And, a lot of people never clean their keyboards: A study published by CBT Nuggets revealed that your computer keyboard is 20,000 dirtier than your toilet. Just like your phone, make sure to wipe down your keyboard and mouse regularly.
3. Dirty Doorknobs Rapidly Spread Germs
Whether at home or at work, it's nearly impossible to avoid touching a doorknob if you want to get from one room to another. And, doorknobs are some of most overlooked items when it comes to cleaning. Facility Executive reported that doorknobs are the most germ ridden items in public buildings. And, if you don't wash your hands before coming home and touching your own doorknobs, your inviting tons of potentially contagious viruses into your home. When you're cleaning, don't forget the doorknobs, including the one on the outside of your house or apartment, your fridge, stove, and microwave. And please, I beg of you, don't lick any doorknobs.
4. Pillows Are Perfect For Home For Everything Putrid
If you like to pull your pillow over your face at night, you might as well just go stick your head in the toilet. The Daily Mail reported that Dr. Arthur Tucker described germ-ridden pillows as a bio hazard, and noted that your pillow is full of dead skin, bugs, and dust mites. Ugh. However, the good news is that most pillows can be thrown in the washer. So, the next time you strip your bed, don't forget to wash your pillows, too. Unless, of course, sleeping with bugs, mites, and your own dead skin is your jam.
5. Cutting Boards Contain Hoards Of Fecal Matter
You know you've officially started adulting when you begin using a cutting board instead of the kitchen counter to chop up your meat and veggies. However, Reader's Digest cited a study that found that the average cutting board contains 200 times more fecal matter than a toilet seat.
6. Clean Laundry Is Actually Pretty Dirty
Few things few more refreshing than a load of fresh, clean laundry. Well, I'm sorry to ruin all of your laundry fantasies, but clean laundry actually isn't clean at all. The culprit? Your washing machine. Because washing machines are almost wet, they're the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, Reader's Digest reported. If you use a communal washing machine in your apartment building, it's much more difficult to control how clean the machine is. In this case, consider adding vinegar to your load of laundry. If you have your own washer, it's recommended that you clean it with bleach at least once a month. Confession: Mine has never been cleaned.
7. Carpets & Rugs Are Home To Bacteria & Bugs
IMO, there's nothing more disgusting than wall-to-wall carpeting. Especially in an apartment where strangers have lived. According to Reader's Digest, an average of 200,000 bacteria live in each square inch of carpeting, which is 700 times more than your toilet seat. OMG. If you can't avoid renting a place with carpet, ask your landlord to clean it before you move in, and make sure you deep clean it yourself at least once a year. You can also use washable throw rugs to cover up an old dirty carpet so you're not coming into direct contact with this germ farm.
8. Your Handbag Is A Perfect Host For Germs
I have a friend who doesn't allow any bags on her tables, furniture, or bed — and as it turns out, there's a good reason for this. Your purse is 10 times dirtier than an office toilet seat, according to Reader's Digest. One of the reasons your purse is such a germ magnet is because you probably set it on the floor in public restrooms, restaurants, or even on public transportation. Whenever possible, keep your precious purse off of the floor, and make sure you wipe it down every day to reduce the risk of transferring nasty bacteria to your home.
9. Your Toothbrush Holder Holds A Lot Of Bacteria
If you can't remember the last time you washed the cup that holds your toothbrush, than you're not washing it enough. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, told TIME magazine that people never think to clean their toothbrush holders. And, you might want to wash it right now because a study from independent health organization NSF International found that toothbrush holders contain harmful bacteria, including Coliform (Salmonella and E. coli) and mold.
10. Kitchen Sponges Spreads Sickness
While you might pride yourself on always having clean dishes, if you washing them with a dirty sponge you may as well not wash them at all. Gerba told TIME that your sponge is likely the dirtiest item in your home, and houses hundreds of millions of bacteria. This is why you should never use your kitchen sponge to wipe down your counters. Overall, NSF International noted that kitchens have more germs than bathrooms. Perhaps we should all start hanging out in the bathroom more since it seems to be the cleanest place in most homes. As far as your dishes go, make sure to replace your sponge often, and run it through the dishwasher or washing machine on the regular.
If you're not down with the sickness, the good news is that you can do something about it. Add these oft-neglected items to your regular cleaning routine. It only takes a few minutes to wipe down your phone, keyboard, and doorknobs every day. And, it's totally worth it to up your cleaning game to avoid getting some nasty bacteria you can't pronounce. It's true that sometimes ignorance is bliss, but in this case it can make you sick. #TheMoreYouKnow