Most of us go over a few surfaces in the house with some disinfectant spray and a cloth – and smugly imagine that our houses are pretty clean, thanks very much.
But in the average home, there are a few objects which are genuinely filthy – some of which you probably touch every day.
More alarmingly still, some of these contain ‘coliform’ bacteria – suggesting that they’re in contact with faeces (ie poo).
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Your sponge is clean, surely? After all, it’s what you use to sponge down the dishes you eat off every day.
But that’s sadly not true, according to Science Alert – in fact many microbiologists say it’s the single dirtiest thing in your house, and dirtier than your toilet seat.
One National Sanitation Foundation study found that 75% of sponges contain coliform bacteria, which can indicate faecal contamination.
Your shower net
Lots of people swear by these, as a good way to exfoliate – but the trouble is they’re a little TOO good at scraping off dead skin cells.
What happens is that the dead skin collects in the shower net – and becomes infected, in as little as 24 hours.
J Matthew Knight from the Knight Dermatology Institute says, ‘You put them in this environment in the shower that’s warm and moist and gross, and it’s a set up for bacteria, yeast, and mould to grow in the puff.’
Just to make it even more vile, if you use an infected net on recently shaved skin, you can end up with a skin infection yourself.
Your computer keyboard
Many of us tap away happily on them for hours on end – but your computer keyboard may actually be dirtier than your toilet seat, and you wouldn’t run your fingers over that for five hours solid.
Tests by consumer magazine Which found that some computer keyboards are incredibly dirty – with one of the 33 under test harbouring five times as many germs as a toilet seat.
Microbiologist Dr Peter Wilson says a keyboard is a ‘reflection of what is in your nose and in your gut’.
Wiping your keyboard clean – and using compressed air to clean debris away – can help.
Your reusable grocery bag
The 5p bag charge may have been great for the environment – but reusing your grocery bag may not be a good idea for your digestive system.
A 2012 Berkeley University study found that food poisoning cases spiked after San Francisco banned plastic grocery bags – and a University of Arizona study found that around 12% of bags were infected with food poisoning bugs such as E Coli.
Dr Susan Rehm said, ‘Let’s say we’ve had a ‘leaker’, one of our chicken containers, or something like that. Well, that all contains bacteria, which contaminates the bag, so the next thing that goes into the bag can also become contaminated.’
Your bathroom door
Your bathroom door handle – you know, the one you touch on the way back out – may be so dirty you should be touching it with paper over your hand.
Sanitation company Earth Ecco tested various common surfaces using an ATP test – looking for adenosine triphosphate, which shows signs of organic waste and bacteria.
They found that bathroom doors had among the highest levels – a score of 860, close to what you’d see on an actual toilet seat.
CEO Jake Tyson said,, ‘If it’s above 30 it’s not clean and you don’t want anything between 135-300 as there will be a lot of bacteria. What it tells you is this area hasn’t been cleaned properly.”