Understanding Germs

I Spy Germs: How to Be a Germ Detective

Germs are sneaky little things. There are plenty of small places for them to hide in your home—and you may be surprised to learn just how germy your everyday items can get. These tips will help you uncover the little germ hideouts that can make a big difference to your family’s health.

Child holding magnifying glass towards plant with other children in background

Zap your kitchen sponge

Hands down, the humble kitchen sponge is the most germ-infested item in your house. Some of the common methods for disinfecting sponges include soaking in lemon juice, bleach, or vinegar, and running them through the dishwasher. But there’s a better, faster tool that kills more germs on sponges: Your microwave.


Researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that the best way to eliminate germs from sponges is to wet them and then place them in the microwave on high for two minutes. Ideally, you should douse and zap your sponge every day, and replace it with a fresh one at least every two weeks.


Read More About How To Clean Your Kitchen Sink


The scary kitchen cutting board

After hearing this grim statistic, you might never want to use your cutting board again. Microbiologist and national household germ expert Charles Gerba found that the average cutting board has 200 times more fecal bacteria on it than the average toilet seat.


Before you swear off cutting boards forever, the good news is that you can keep it clean. Read more about how to clean cutting boards.You can also run it through the dishwasher, or use the microwave trick and zap your cutting board for about 30 seconds.


Shedding light on switches, handles, and knobs

How many times every day does someone in your family turn a light on or off, open or close a door, or grab something out of the fridge or cabinet? When you combine that with the fact that your hands are the second germiest part of your body (second only to your mouth), you get small places with high germ concentrations that no one ever thinks to wash.


There’s an easy solution. Simply wipe down these high-traffic areas with Lysol®  Disinfecting Wipes each day, for an immediate germ reduction that helps keep everyone healthier.


The enemy in your electronics

Perhaps more so than doorknobs and light switches, many people don’t think about how much contact is made with remote controls, computer keyboards, and most importantly, cell phones. In fact, Fox News reported that on average, cell phones have 18 times more germs than public bathrooms.


The good news is that ridding your household of these germ collections is just as easy as cleaning knobs and switches. Simply wipe the surfaces of remotes, keyboards, and cell phones with disinfecting wipes, and you can type and talk without a worry.


With a little smart sleuthing, you can force even the sneakiest germs out of their hiding spots for a healthier home.

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