From the kitchen sponge to the toothbrush to the TV remote control, the dirtiest place in the house is not necessarily the place you think it is. Here are ten objects that are best kept clean because they are known to harbor microorganisms of all kinds.
Toilets the dirtiest place in the house? Not necessarily… Kitchen, bathroom, and office can also accommodate an abundance of various microorganisms. We have selected ten objects that have been examined by scientists because they are rich in microbes.
The kitchen sponge
In 2017, a study published in Scientific Reports analyzed the microbiome present on kitchen sponges and found significant amounts of Acinetobacter, Moraxella and Chryseobacterium bacteria. Researchers suggest that kitchen sponges should be changed regularly, once a week.
In 2013, a study looked for the places in the kitchen with the most germs. In front of kitchen utensils, the refrigerator appears as the main microbial nest, with its fruit and vegetable or meat compartments. It needs to be clean because micro-organisms in the refrigerator can contaminate food and lead to food poisoning.
In 2011, microbiologists from NSF, an American public health agency, studied germs in 22 families. Often participants thought the bathroom was the most at risk when in fact it was the kitchen. Scientists looked for coliform bacteria, a group of bacteria including Escherichia colour Salmonella, which can be a sign of fecal contamination. Sponges and rags were the most frequently contaminated objects in the kitchen in front of the sink.
The kitchen worktop
In the same study as before, after the sponge and sink in the kitchen, the work surface was the area most often contaminated with coliform bacteria.
The cutting board
In the same 2011 study, the cutting board was the fourth microbe nest in the kitchen after the sponges, sink, and worktop.
In the 2011 NSF study, toothbrushes were the most frequently contaminated objects in the bathroom, in front of gloves.
In 2013, an American study showed that children’s stuffed animals are fearsome bacteria nests. 80% of the stuffed animals tested had dangerous germs: pneumococci!
The remote control of the television
Touched by all the fingers of the household, the remote control is also an object capable of collecting micro-organisms. In the same Virginia University study, remote controls were 50% contaminated with germs.
The computer keyboard
A 2009 study of university computer keyboards showed that those used by different people are particularly at risk. The authors recommend cleaning keyboards regularly, especially if several people use them.