It's not just Halloween that brings out scary things around the home; check out these everyday, frighteningly germy hiding spots!
1. Cutting boards. From dangerous coliform bacteria to molds and yeasts, your cutting boards are a hotbed of scary germs. Be sure to place boards in the dishwasher or hand-wash in hot soapy water after every use. You can also disinfect cutting boards by wiping them down with full-strength white vinegar, then wiping them again with a paper towel saturated in hydrogen peroxide. Get your cutting board smelling fresh again by rubbing it all over with the cut side of half a lemon.
2. Your kitchen sponge. That everyday essential you use to clean your dishes can actually harbor mold, E.Coli and salmonella among other things. Throw out and replace your kitchen sponge every couple of weeks, and microwave wet sponges for two minutes daily in-between replacing them.
3. Your kitchen counter. Your kitchen counter acts as the catchall for everything from phones and keys to purses and the mail, so it's no wonder the contamination factor is high. And then of course there's the food preparation that happens on that counter, which can introduce bacteria and the risk of salmonella and E. Coli. Research the safest cleansers for your particular countertop surface, and sanitize it daily after wiping it down with hot, soapy water.
4. Your coffee maker. Although you pour water into it everyday, you may not think of giving your coffee maker a regular, dedicated cleaning to flush out any bacteria that could be growing in its dark, damp interior. To clean your coffee maker and help it flow better too, fill it with three or four cups of white vinegar, let it sit for half an hour, then turn on the machine to let the vinegar flow through. Follow with a couple of cycles of water to flush out the vinegar.
5. Your kitchen drain and sink. After running the vinegar through your coffee maker, why not keep the vinegar working by shaking a cup of baking soda into your kitchen drain and then pouring the vinegar over it, to disinfect the drain? It's worth noting the kitchen sink itself can get pretty nasty too. Remember, the bacteria from raw meats and other foods you may prep over your sink goes directly into that same sink you wash your dishes in. Be sure to disinfect not only the sink a couple of times a week, but also the sink strainer.
6. Fridge door handles, cupboard handles, stove knobs, doorknobs, kitchen and bathroom faucets. Basically anything you're touching multiple times a day needs to be cleaned with hot soapy water and a disinfectant. Have a supply of disinfectant wipes on hand for easy, daily wipe-downs
.7. Your toothbrush holder. Toothbrushes knocking together or being in close vicinity to other toothbrushes allow airborne bacteria to travel from toothbrush to toothbrush, opening up the possibility of infections such as gum disease and even the common cold being passed from one person to another. Toothbrush holders need to be tossed in the dishwasher or at least washed regularly in hot, soapy water to discourage the mold and yeast that can lurk inside.
8. Your baby's diaper pail. Wipe down the diaper pail with a baby wipe on a daily basis, and wash the inside with hot soapy water as necessary.
9. Your pet's food bowl. Wipe up spilled food or water promptly, and wash bowls daily to not only protect your pet from getting sick from spoiled food, but also to discourage bugs or mice. Don't forget to wash pet toys too!
10. Your Purse. The bottom of your purse touches tables, floors, counter-tops in stores, shopping carts, etc. It's a haven for bacteria, so wipe it with an antibacterial wipe once in awhile and never put it on the table in a restaurant.