Rubber gloves and bleach at the ready. According to germ experts (AKA microbiologists) the place most of us would assume is packed with harmful bacteria, the toilet seat, actually isn’t that bad. Your kitchen? The worst.
And it’s not the only place that’s basically a a germ breeding ground…
1. Kitchen sink.
Despite being the place you use to clean your dishes, it’s the most contaminated place in the house.
“Plates with food scraps provide great breeding grounds and may sit around for a while,” says Microbiologist and Director of Research of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University, Dr Ross Coppel.
“There may be dishes and boards contaminated with potentially infected material such as raw chicken and usually the sinks are just rinsed with water.”
(Watch: A delicious recipe from Dani Venn to try… once you’ve cleaned your sink. Post continues after video.)
2. Grocery bags
These guys pick up just as much dirt and bacteria as everything else, except they, you know, also hold the food you’re planning to put in your mouth.
“There should be warnings that come with these. Fifty per cent of people never wash them, and they have more bacteria in them than your underwear — and your car is like the incubator,” University of Arizona microbiologist Dr Charles Gerba told Cosmopolitan.
He suggests choosing bags that are easily washable and using multiple carry bags to avoid cross contamination between meat, cans and fresh produce. Yes, apparently we’re meant to do that…
Not so pretty anymore, hey? Image: iStock
3. Bottom of the fridge.
Do you dare brave the depths of your fridge?
"Everything drips and drops down there. So anything stored on the bottom of the fridge is that much more likely to get contaminated. And it's the first place that will get mold," says Gerba. Delightful. (Post continues after gallery.)
Fun fact: According to a study published in the American Society for Microbiology, 60 per cent of toothbrushes in shared bathrooms have faecal matter on them. What's more, 80 per cent of isn't even yours.
The way you store it can also make matters worse.
"Your toothbrush is also on the list because it is constantly wet, making it a frequent host to many bacteria," says Dr Coppel.
5. Your handbag.
Dr Gerba would like you to stop putting your handbag on the kitchen countertop when you walk in, please.
"A quarter of purses have E-coli on them and we found out people put them right next to where they're about to make a sandwich!" he said. Noted.
Keep it away from food preparation areas. Image: iStock
6. Cutting boards.
Slice and dice your foods regularly on the same board with just a wipe inbetween? You may as well be cutting food on the toilet seat, with traces of E-coli not an uncommon occurrence.
"From testing them, we've noticed that they seem to be neglected — and you should also remember to have dedicated ones for vegetables and others for meats," said Dr Gerba.
7. Dish washing sponge.
"Pure evil", according to microbiologists. They likely contain more fecal matter than your toilet, so maybe change it regularly? Thanks.
Oh, we will!
8. TV remote.
Take a minute to think about how many hands fight over the TV remote, and where those hands might have been previously.
"Surfaces that get touched a lot are prime candidates for bacteria," said Dr Coppel.
9. Computer keyboard.
Please refer to the above. We don't even want to think about our phones.
Don't even want to think about our phones. Image: iStock
10. Hand and face towels.
Got small children running around? According to Dr Gerba you should be changing your hand and face towels multiple times a week.
"I used to wipe my face on a towel in the morning, but now I can't do it. I know there's E.coli on it," he said.
"I tend to use paper towels a lot now. Some people say that's not environmentally friendly, but you'll sure use a lot of toilet paper if you get diarrhoea!"
11. Your washing machine.
The place you clean your clothes is hiding a dirty secret. Tests done by microbiologists found traces of E.coli on peoples' hands after placing wet laundry in the dryer. Bacteria from your clothes gets collected in the drum of the washing machine and around and around they go.
Which place were you most surprised about?