Clean Health: Guide to Home Germs and Containments

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Clean Health: Guide to Home Germs and Containments

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Regardless of how clean your house appears, there may be germs lurking in many unexpected areas. While most people regularly sweep, mop and launder clothing, there are hidden areas where germs may multiply away from the visible eye. Keeping the home free of germs and bacteria is vital to ensuring the health of family and pets. From combating flu to bacteria such as Staph, Salmonella and E.coli, keeping the home sanitized and disinfected is imperative to good health. Knowing where germs are likely to thrive helps ensure that you deal with them before they pose a danger.


The bathroom is one room in the house known for harboring many germs. Towels are frequently contaminated with E.coli bacteria and must be laundered in hot water. Toothbrushes are a potential source for illness-causing bacteria. Keep toothbrushes away from other brushes and discard them after you’ve had any type of sickness. Toilets that are flushed while the lid is open can spray harmful bacteria into the room. Keep toilet bowls disinfected and flush them with the lid down to prevent illness from bacteria and viruses such as the rhinovirus.


The kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house when it comes to potential illness. Unsafe food preparation and practices can lead to foodborne illnesses that may leave one in extreme sickness. Disinfect cutting boards and countertops after using to reduce the risk of Salmonella contamination. Be aware of the potential dangers that may arise from wiping counters with contaminated sponges. Rinsing sponges in hot water and bleach can sterilize them. Use new sponges when they appear dirty or worn out.


While the bedroom may seem one of the least rooms in the house to be exposed to bacteria, studies show that many germs thrive in the bedroom. Pillows, sheets and mattresses can be sources for viruses and contamination. Climbing into bed without first bathing or showering can easily transfer germs, bacteria and viruses from your body or clothing to the bed. Furniture, doors and doorknobs should be regularly cleaned and disinfected.

  • Where Germs Live: Bed and Bath: CBS News examines the common germs that are found in bedrooms and how to keep you and your family safe.
  • Mold, Dust Mites, Fungi, Spores and Pollen: Bioaerosols in the Human Environment: Learn about the indoor environmental hazards that lurk in bedrooms and can cause health issues.
  • How to Prevent and Remove Mildew: Home Methods: The University of Missouri Extension shares these resources for removing mildew in the home including susceptible areas in the bedroom.
  • Bed Bug Fact Sheet: Learn about bed bugs and discover if they bring germs into the home environment.

Home Office

The home office can quickly become a den of harmful germs, bacteria and viruses. Studies show that cell phones and landline telephones can be rife with germs. Computers and peripherals such as a computer mouse and keyboards are also susceptible. Many who eat meals and snacks at their desks may be unaware of how quickly germs are spreading. Those with a home office must take great care to ensure they not only keep it tidy and organized, but disinfected as well.

Laundry Room

Though we think of the laundry room as a place to clean our clothes, many washing machines are full of germs and bacteria. As more people seek to conserve energy and switch from using hot water cycles to warm and cold, more germs are surviving the wash cycle. Air-drying instead of drying clothes in a hot dryer allows germs to survive longer than they would in the dryer. Many germs, viruses and bacteria cling to the inside of the washing machine tub, rather than being washed away. Running an empty wash on a hot or cold cycle with bleach can help reduce the amount of germs present in washing machines.

Last modified: April 9, 2018