The toilet is obviously not the most hygienic part of the house. Even if you clean it, the bacterial residue still lives on it. However, if you thought that the loo is the dirtiest thing in your home, then you’ve been fooled. It’s actually the most unexpected household items that house colonies and colonies of unseen bacteria.
This isn’t meant to scare you into panic-disinfecting your house (which on second thought, wouldn’t hurt, because, you know: COVID…), but we want people to be aware of the things that might need a little bit of extra TLC when being cleaned. Trust us, once you find out, you’ll never look at these items the same way ever again. Read on to discover which inconspicuous household items could out-gross your toilet on the dirt-o-meter.
#1 Cleaning rags
From the term “cleaning rag” alone, you should know that this piece of fabric is in charge of wiping things, including countertops and other surfaces. And they are far from clean!
Cleaning rags or cloths can contain 6 times more bacteria than your toilet’s flush handle, and if you let that sink it, it’s totally gross. Wet cloth has all the essential components for attracting bacteria. They insulate heat, humidity, and organic residue from food. So, this is a sign from the universe: wash your cleaning rags in a washing machine on a cycle setting and then let them dry in the dryer.
#2 Cutting board
Cutting boards are kitchen essentials that you probably use on a daily basis. You use them to slice veggies, fruit, fish, and meat. The question is: do you wash it properly afterward? If you do, then you’re in the clear. If you don’t, your cutting board is most likely already hosting 200 times more fecal matter than your toilet seat does. #Ew, but also #True.
Before you start running and screaming in the opposite direction, know that there is still hope for your trusty cutting board. All you have to do is wash it with water and dish soap, then proceed to soak it in a solution of 2 teaspoons of bleach if it’s made of plastic. If it’s made of wood, then you’ll need to use 2 tablespoons of bleach to 4 liters of water. Keep in mind that wooden boards can only soak for a short period of time in order to prevent warping.
#3 Kitchen sponge
Would you wash your dishes with your toilet seat? No, right? Well, then you shouldn’t be washing them with an old sponge either.
A regular dish sponge can contain up to 10 million bacteria per square inch. They may be submerged in water and soap every day, but that doesn’t make them clean. On the contrary, humid and moist environments are hotspots for bacterial growth. The best way to solve this spongy dilemma? Replace your dish sponge every week.
We use our cell phones all day long. From checking our messages the moment we wake up to replying to emails and mindlessly scrolling through our social media feeds. Rubbing that piece of glass for hours on end means that your beloved smartphone is prone to bacterial growth. There can be up to 10 times more bacteria on your phone than on your toilet seat. That’s like placing your ear against your toilet and talking to it.
Since cell phones are such an essential part of our daily lives, and most of us are inseparable from these devices, we better step up our game in the disinfectant game. Clean your phone properly with a cloth soaked in 60% water and 40% rubbing alcohol.
#5 Computer mouse
We all use computers. We spend hours on them each day to work, study, interact, play, and more. We’re literally using a computer to type this very sentence. As you know, a mouse is a key component of a computer, and it’s 45,600 times filthier than your toilet flush handle.
To eradicate the bacteria that illegally lodges on your computer mouse, your best weapon is a disinfectant wipe. After cleansing the mouse with a wipe, dry it with a microfiber cloth before reconnecting it to your computer. If it’s a wireless mouse, we’d still recommend using the microfiber cloth.
#6 Computer keyboard
If you thought the computer mouse was filthy, then the keyboard will do you one better! If your job, school, or hobbies involve the use of the computer, then your hands are constantly on the keyboard. Do you ever clean it? Probably not, right?
Computer keyboards can contain an average of 20,500 times more germs than a toilet seat. You wouldn’t randomly tap your fingers on a toilet seat, so why let your computer’s keyboard be dirtier than one?
In order to properly clean your keyboard, you can use a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol. Make sure that your keyboard is unplugged before you do this and avoid spilling directly alcohol onto it. You might also want to use some tape to get those little crumbs lodged in between the keys.
#7 Your clean clothes
We’re you shocked to find this item on this list? Yeah, well, so were we when we discovered that our “Clean” clothes aren’t as clean as we thought. They may look clean, feel clean, and smell clean, but are they really clean?
When you wash clothes along with your underwear, you could be spreading as many as 100 million E.coli bacteria to your entire wash and the washing machine. This is because each pair of undies contains a gram of fecal matter.
If you don’t want to swirl your favorite sweaters and skirts in a pool of fecal matter, it’s advisable to dedicate a separate spin for your underwear. It’s safer for both the undergarments and the other clothing. Also, make it a habit to regularly clean your washing machine with water and bleach. Set it to a normal cycle and wash without any laundry in it.
Another great tip would be to dry your clothing out in the sun. Sunlight has a natural disinfectant. Oh, and get some sunlight yourself while you’re pinning your laundry to the clothesline. Vitamin D is essential!
#8 Your dog’s bowl
Don’t tell doggo, but his/her bowl could be housing an average of 2,110 bacteria per square inch, which is 10 times more than on a toilet seat. (Fine, some dogs may drink out of the toilet, but that’s no excuse to let them eat from a dirty bowl, right?)
In order to ensure that your four-legged best friend is eating from a safe dish, wash his/her bowl with hot water and soap after every day. Oh, and if they won’t stop drinking from the toilet, just close the bathroom door and make sure that there is always cool water available. Toilet water is disgusting to us humans, but to a fur baby, it’s cool and fresh due to the porcelain material of the toilet bowl. Too bad they don’t understand what humans do with the toilet.
#9 Your car’s steering wheel
That car of yours parked in your garage right now has a steering wheel that is crawling with germs. You may give your car a good wash on the outside, but remember to give the inside a good wipe and polish too, especially the steering wheel. On average, a car’s steering wheel can contain 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.
Car interiors are often hot and humid, which are the ideal conditions for bacteria to thrive. Reclaim your car from the clutches of bacteria by using the right car cleaning products or treat your vehicle to a deep clean by the professionals. It’ll be good for your precious car and good for your health.
#10 Your toothbrush
This one is extra gross. Who knew that you might be brushing your teeth with something that is even dirtier than your toilet seat!? It turns out that your toothbrush can contain approximately 10 million kinds of bacteria, and since they include E.coli, we already know that not all these bacteria are harmless.
So, why is your toothbrush filthier than your toilet seat? Well, it’s because you store them in the bathroom near the toilet. This means that they are in constant close contact with the fecal matter in the bowl once you flush.
The solution to this unsavory dilemma? Keep your toothbrush and your family’s toothbrushes as far as possible from the toilet. If you can, keep them in a separate room. Oh, and replace your toothbrush every three months. A wise ad once said: “After three months, your toothbrush isn’t yours… it’s theirs.”
#11 Remote control
The TV’s remote control is an important part of our daily lives. Imagine how terrible it would be if we lost the remote control (which we often do) and miss the premiere of Shang-Chi and Legend of the Ten Rings?
Anyway, since everyone in the house touches the remote control (read: fights over and loses it), it’s also a breeding ground for bacteria. Lucky, cleaning it is as easy as misplacing it. All you have to do is whip out a disinfectant wipe once a day to eliminate any germs that could cause a virus or infection to spread.
#12 Your ID badge
Whether you need it for work or school, your ID badge can be a carrier for a lot of dirt. It’s dirtier than the toilet set and also dirtier than your dog’s food bowl. We don’t know why that is exactly. You don’t even touch it often; it just stays attached to your ID lace all day. Whatever it is, according to the professionals, it’s one of the most bacteria-laden items you can come in contact with.
No worries, though, you can clean your ID with a cloth, water, and dish soap. Before you wipe it down with this soapy solution, don’t forget to check with your employer if water contact won’t damage the ID badge.
Every room in the house has a doorknob or handle, and in order to enter these rooms, we need to turn these knobs or push down the handles. No one really pays attention to the inconspicuous objects until we tell you that they are in fact prone to be dirtier than your toilet.
Better gear up to clean every door handle and knob in your household with soapy water and a cleaning rag or disinfectant wipes. Some flour, salt, and vinegar mixed into a thick paste also works wonders for cleaning copper or brass doorknobs.
Desks; we use them every day, but do we clean them every day? If you answered no, then your desk is most likely home to more than 10 million bacteria, A.K.A. one hundred times more than on a toilet seat.
To stop these fleets of microorganisms from colonizing your desk, you need a pack of trusty disinfectant wipes handy. Ah, disinfectant wipes, where would we be without you?
#15 Reusable grocery bags / Eco bags
Eco bags and other reusable grocery bags are wonderful tools that help the environment because it means less paper and less plastic usage. Also, they’re sold in a variety of cute styles, so that’s a win for eco-friendly fashionistas!
On the other hand, reusable grocery bags are often filled with dirty packages, meat, produce, and other raw food items. If you don’t clean them after use, you could be exposing yourself and your family to the dangers of E.coli, which could lead to stomach flu and other diseases.
Wash the bags after every grocery run, and maybe have a separate one for items from the meat and produce department, because cross-contamination is a big no-no. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself while you’re being kind to the environment.
#16 Your purse or backpack
If you’re like most people, your bag often sits on the floor of offices, classrooms, offices, bathrooms, or stores. If you think about it, the floor is a dirty place. Everyone walks over it with shoes that have been everywhere from the pavement all the way to public bathroom floors. Then when you get home, you likely just throw your bag onto a chair, table, or kitchen counter without cleaning it. That’s when the bacteria spread to the other surfaces in your house.
How to solve this gross issue? Keep your bag off the floor and wash it often. A lot of filthy things come in contact with the floor, so it’s no place for a bag. If it’s a habit of yours to turn the floor into a storage center for your bag, you better unlearn it right now. Come on, let’s treat our bag with some respect.
#17 Kitchen sink
Would you wash your dishes in the toilet bowl? If the answer is no (gosh, we hope the answer is no), then why would you let your kitchen sink get filthier than it? Did you know that all that food residue in collaboration with a humid environment could turn your sink into a breeding ground for bacteria?
Say no to dirty kitchen sinks by using a solution of bleach and water every day. Rinse with a lot of water, and it’s hello, a clean kitchen sink!
#18 Salt and Pepper shakers
There is no dish that a little salt and pepper can’t save from the depths of tastelessness! But did you know that salt and pepper shakers could contain unhealthy bacteria?
Don’t let the salt and pepper shakers get you sick; wash them with your dishes or clean them with disinfectant wipes (depends on the manufacturer’s advice).
#19 Shower curtain
While your shower curtain comes in contact with soap and water every time you shower, you shouldn’t be complacent about its level of cleanliness.
The layer of soap that dries on your shower curtain over time is the perfect environment for germs to grow and thrive. If you have ever noticed and pink marks appearing on your shower curtain, that’s the indicator for you to get a new one.
Wanna keep your shower curtain longer? Wash it in the washing machine on a regular basis or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The plunger’s spot is right next to the toilet bowl, and you guessed it: it’s extremely dirty. This is because your hands aren’t usually clean when you use the plunger, and even when it just sits there, it collects bacteria on a daily basis.
The plunger may have an icky job, but that doesn’t mean that you should just let it sit there all soiled and gross, because it could cause bacterial infections other implications on your health. Prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms by cleaning the handle with disinfectant wipes and the rest of it with a disinfectant solution made with bleach and detergent.