Germs are bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms that typically are parasitic in nature. Germs feed or reproduce using a host’s resources, whether that host is living or dead, plant or animal. Although some germs are helpful, specifically some that inhabit the human body and aid in digestion, many germs are just waiting for a chance to infect. However, since most of us can’t see microscopic organisms, it can be difficult to kill germs unless you know where to look.
Household bacteria come from many different sources, so you have to consider where each kind may show up. A common source is animal contact in the house, whether from a pet or from meat being prepared. Meat cutting boards need to be washed immediately after cutting is complete to avoid spreading salmonella, E. coli, campylobacter (causes food poisoning) and many other bacteria.
It’s best to keep a separate cutting board for other foods. It is important to keep pet areas and food dishes clean to avoid the spread of bacteria that are brought in by them. Bacteria can also come from plants or dirt from unwashed vegetables. Though the germs found in most vegetables and fruits don’t afflict humans, it is still possible to become sick from them if they are either blighted or dirty.
Many people worry about the bacteria and other germs found in their tap water, but in most developed countries the water is treated to kill germs that are potentially hazardous to humans. Still, even relatively harmless bacteria can be worrisome if they’re allowed to build up. Of course, another source of household bacteria is humans. Most of the bacteria we create are either not harmful or are in numbers too small to seriously affect us. Problems arise when the harmful bacteria in small numbers are allowed to sit around and multiply.
There are several key locations in the house that should be paid close attention when intending to kill germs by cleaning. First, the most germ-filled place in the house is the kitchen. Germs love to grow on sponges, rags, fridge handles, phones, utensils, and countertops.
The secret to cleaning is to start with the cleaning tool. If it’s a sponge, try microwaving it for a couple minutes to eliminate harmful bacteria from spreading as you clean. If it’s a rag, make sure it has completely dried out and hasn’t been in use for more than a week. A kitchen sponge or rag are the number 1 source of germs in the entire house, due to the moist crevices that they provide, not to mention plentiful food sources.
Another area that will be rife with household bacteria will be, of course, the bathroom. Concentrate on areas in and around the toilet, but also clean door handles and faucet handles. In the rest of the house, clean places where hands get placed often, namely doorknobs, video game controllers, computer keyboards, and anywhere else that will attract unwashed hands.
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Fortunately, even though we can’t see them, we can still kill germs by knowing where to look. Household bacteria will always be a problem, but keeping your household clean in the right places can greatly reduce your chances of inviting germs to make themselves at home.