The average person encounters thousands of different germs every day and the majority aren’t a danger to our health. However, in your home, there’s an array of potentially harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, E. coli and mould, lurking in places you wouldn’t even have thought to look. Click or scroll on to discover where germs are hiding in your living spaces and find out how to banish them for good.
When’s the last time you cleaned your spice jars? Many of us will automatically reach for the paprika or chilli powder when we’re cooking dinner, without considering the germs that may have accumulated on those little pots. A study in the Journal of Food Protection examined 371 adults making turkey burgers and found that spice containers had the highest degree of cross-contamination out of all of the kitchen surfaces. After cooking, the researchers discovered bacteria from the turkey present on 48% of the spice jars. To prevent cross-contamination, make sure you wash your hands before and after handling raw meat. It’s a good idea to regularly wipe down your spice containers with a disinfectant solution or hot soapy water.
While some germ hotspots are immediately obvious, other high-contact areas of the home are all too easy to overlook. A frequently used appliance, your microwave might not strike you as a particularly dirty space, especially if you frequently wipe out the interior. However, it’s the exterior that often gets neglected – in particular the handle where bacteria can build up, especially when you’re cooking. Independent public health and safety organisation NSF International found microwave handles to be especially dense with harmful microbes. To keep germs at bay, they recommend cleaning the handle once a week with a disinfectant product.