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According to the National Research Center for Women and Families, people overlook known germy areas and focus more on the toilet bowl. The average kitchen sink has 400 times more bacteria than the john.
Germs are lurking in places where you least expect them. Since eighty percent of infections are spread through hand contact, it is not surprising that germs are everywhere around us. People don’t understand that while most germs are completely harmless and lead to an increase in immunity, others can cause serious illnesses and infections. Everyone thinks the toilet is the place where the most germs live, that is wrong. It is not the worst place by far. With flu season around the corner, you need to be aware of the hazardous areas and what you need to do to decrease your exposure and risk.

The Kitchen Sink – These sinks are more dirty than the bathroom sinks. Bacteria breeds where food and warm water is, right? There are typically more than 500,000 bacterial per square inch in the drain alone. When you rinse fruit, vegetables, meats, and poultry in your kitchen sink, the bacteria from them trickles down the drain and around the sink area. In addition to this, pots and pans are washed there, the cat and dog bowl is filled there, and sometimes people even wash their pets in the sink. Most research supports the finding that the kitchen sink is germier than the toilet.

SpongeBob Germy Pants – You use a kitchen sponge to wash up spills and messes and then throw it on the counter to dry. It stays wet for a long time and microbes flourish in the damp environment. Think about all the millions of microbes that are absorbed by the sponge and have made it their permanent residence.

Shopping Cart Handles
– These handles are loaded with bacteria, saliva, and even fecal matter, according to research studies. They are handled by dozens of different people every day and harbor nasty, dangerous pathogens.

Your Own Purse – This one is a shocker. A woman’s handbag is one of the worst places for germs to accumulate. Studies support that thousands of bacteria live on the bottom of the bag and the handles. One study discovered E. coli, salmonella, and pseudomonas, three serious microbes that lead to really bad infections.

Airplane Bathrooms – This one comes as no surprise to everyone. Public bathrooms are bad enough, but cramped, overused airplane bathrooms are actually worse. Germs are everywhere there. They are on the faucets, the door handles, the commode, and the sink. The volatile flush of the commode spews particles into the air and coats the floor and walls with these harmful pathogens.

Wet Laundry – The worst thing you can do is to leave your laundry in the washing machine or leave a wet, soiled garment in the dirty clothes hamper. Where there is water sitting, there is bacteria and wet laundry is germy.

Your Toothbrush – Storing your toothbrush on the bathroom counter can be harmful. The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three months to avoid bacterial build-up. Experts say that when you flush your toilet, germs can fly up to 10 feet across the room. Now think, is your toothbrush 10 feet from your toilet?

Your Makeup Bag – Your makeup harbors germs. It is recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology that you replace your powders, eye shadows, and foundation every year and that you replace mascara every three months.

Wall-to-Wall Carpets – This is a trap for germs and allergens. Pet dander, germs from dirty shoes, and mold all reside in this fibrous germ breeding ground. Every time you go outside and step in dog doo, you bring it in to your carpet.

ATM Buttons – This one is a no-brainer. If you touch something in the public, everyone else is touching it too. ATMs are not cleaned often but are touched often. This leads to germ build-up and a bacteria infested area of concern.

What to Do About Germs?

There’s much you can do to make your venture out into the world a safer one. The first thing is educating yourself. Knowing where the germs are and what to do about them is the best way to reduce your risk.

You need to clean your kitchen counters and sink with antibacterial products. A good option is to use white vinegar to sanitize and remove stubborn bacterial.

Be sure to wash your hands well with warm soapy water for around 30 seconds. This will kill 99.9 percent of the bacteria you have encountered at the sink.

Avoid using sponges whenever possible. Instead, choose throw away sanitary wipes or paper towels.

When you wash your clothes, dry them immediately afterwards. Try to use the hottest setting you can for the washer and dryer. Wash your hands well after handling any laundry.

When you go out to the grocery store or stop by the ATM, take along some handy sanitary quick wipes. Use these for shopping cart handles, ATM buttons, handles of public bathrooms, and more. Also, carry hand sanitizer with you to wipe your hands down whenever you encounter publicly used items.

For your toothbrush, change it every three months and keep it in a plastic cover or holder. Dentists recommend that you store it in an upright position, as well. 

For your cosmetics, follow the guidelines and change them out as recommended. This is the only documented way to prevent eye infections and decrease acne flare-ups. 

The best solution for keeping your purse clean is to not put it on the floor or any other public place. Wipe it down when you can with an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Wall-to-wall carpet should be avoided in your household if possible. If not, vacuum with a device that has a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This will prevent contaminates from recirculating.

According to the National Research Center for Women and Families, people overlook known germy areas and focus more on the toilet bowl. The average kitchen sink has 400 times more bacteria than the john. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that we wipe down our desks, office phones, door handles, and other areas with bleach or alcohol based cleaners.
Realistically, it is impossible to avoid germs all of the time. Quality of life will suffer if you develop a “germ phobia” so reader beware. Be practical and sensible when considering these Germs of the Jungle. Living in a bubble is not a healthy option. Find a balance.
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