This is where germs hide in your house

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Kitchen Sponge

The very sponge you use to clean your dishes may actually be home to a bevy of bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella.

PHOTO: PhotoAlto/Laurence Mouton

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If your towel isn’t fresh out of the dryer after a nice, thorough wash, it’s likely loaded with all sorts of bacteria. Make sure to hang that towel back up after using it, because a damp towel is a dirty towel.

PHOTO: Emilija Manevska

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Remote Control

Unfortunately, there’s no off button for bacteria. Remote controls are one of the most germ-covered things in a home. Now that you know, no marathon of shows should be enough to distract you from that.

PHOTO: Jose Luis Stephens / EyeEm

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Pet Bed

The next time your pet gives you that look when you tell them to get off your bed, stay strong. In addition to ticks and fleas, your four-legged friend could be carrying MRSA, rabies or all sorts of worms. That means their personal sleeping spot needs to be washed regularly.

PHOTO: gollykim

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When it comes to cleaning, it seems that many people have a “what happens in the microwave, stays in the microwave” philosophy. Well, that kind of attitude could be making you sick. It’s important to sanitize your microwave unless you want your leftovers served with a side of E. coli.

PHOTO: EasyBuy4u

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Allergens like pollen, dust and dust mites are all around your carpet, but it can also be home to bacteria — and every time you step foot on it, you’re bringing them closer to the surface.

PHOTO: Mike Kemp

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Light Switches

Don’t be left in the dark: light switches, like any other surfaces frequently touched by others, can be a launchpad for colds and viruses.

PHOTO: Khairul Fitri Mohamad / EyeEm

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Computer Keyboard

Your keyboard is covered in bacteria, especially if you’re not the only one tapping away at it, so don’t forget to delete those germs with a good cleaning.

PHOTO: Johner Images


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Kitchen Sink

E. coli and salmonella in your kitchen sink? What about the faucet? Remember that contaminated foods and the aforementioned bacteria hotbed, your kitchen sponge, can leave their mark wherever they go. Cleaning the surface of the sink simply isn’t enough either, as many of the offenders become trapped in the drain.

PHOTO: Tatiana Dyuvbanova / EyeEm

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It probably comes as no surprise that an unbrushed mouth can be home to hundreds of bacteria, but the thing you use to clean it, too? Yep! Toothbrushes can carry E. coli, staphylococcus and even fecal matter.

PHOTO: Nicole Lienemann / EyeEm

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Cutting Board

Your cutting board is a popular rest stop for food-born illness-causing bacteria, whether its wood or plastic. Always clean it thoroughly, especially after cutting raw meat and vegetables.

PHOTO: Enrique Díaz / 7cero

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Feeling awake yet? Well, staphylococcus, streptococcus and bacillus cereus are just some of the bacteria that can be living in the reservoir of your coffeemaker.

PHOTO: Dziggyfoto

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Though typically thought of as something that protects our food from bacteria, a refrigerator can contain E. coli, salmonella and listeria, among others. This is especially true of the salad drawer and door handles. If it housed a food that was subject to a recall, it’s extremely important to clean your entire refrigerator,

PHOTO: Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury

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Stove Knobs

Where there’s food, there’s the chance that the nearby surfaces are chock-full of bacteria. Even the stove knobs are susceptible to lingering germs.

PHOTO: Tetra Images

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Coffee Table

A popular destination for our remotes, phones and other bacteria-covered items, often including your feet — our coffee tables are coated with germs.

PHOTO: Cavan Images

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Salt and Pepper Shakers

Instead of seasoning your meal, you might actually be sprinkling it with rhinoviruses and influenza. So spilling the salt is the least of your worries.

PHOTO: Image by Marie LaFauci


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Water Bottles

Whether it’s back from the gym, school or the office, your water bottle is teeming with enough bacteria to make you do a spit take. Throw it in the dishwasher after each use.

PHOTO: Valeriia Sviridova / EyeEm

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Pet Bowls

It’s up to you whether you should let your pet lick your face— that said, you should know that the place where they eat and drink is teeming with bacteria.

PHOTO: eclipse_images

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Having a tough time sleeping? Then definitely don’t think about how your mattress is likely a frenzy of fungi, mold, dust mites and bacteria from your sweat as well as its surroundings.

PHOTO: baytunc

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Makeup Bag

You’re going to need to add some color to your face after finding out what’s present in your makeup bag. Typically dark, damp and with plenty to feed on, the makeup bag is a haven for harmful bacteria.


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Home to the coats, hats and gloves you use to keep yourself warm while you’re out and about, your closet is the closest thing in your home to a public place. Bacteria from your travels thrive alongside those jackets you’ve been meaning to donate.

PHOTO: Burak Karademir

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Lunch Box

Contaminated foods and contact with dirty surfaces at school make your child’s lunch box a real feeding ground for bacteria.

PHOTO: Sally Anscombe

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Washing Machine

Even when it’s full of detergent, there are germs galore inside your washing machine. Children’s clothes and, embarrassingly enough, all of our undergarments, fill it with all sorts of bacteria.

PHOTO: Daniel Kaesler / EyeEm

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No, your dishwasher isn’t safe from bacteria either. With an abundance of food particles and moisture, this is another place where germs are more than happy to gather.

PHOTO: Sally Anscombe


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Bathroom Faucet Handles

You wash your hands after using the bathroom, right? That’s great! Too bad the handles you have to touch before and after your sanitizing act are covered in bacteria.

PHOTO: Tawan Boonnak / EyeEm

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Like our mattresses, pillows take on the bacteria in the air and on our skin to make a fluffy and fertile breeding ground for germs. Sweet dreams!

PHOTO: Azri Suratmin