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Ick! 7 germy spots around the home

Check out what may need a good cleaning now

So you might have a guess or two about where germs tend to lurk in homes. See a few hot spots below — some may surprise you.

Prime places for germs

Of course, there are lots of objects, nooks and crannies in the average home that may harbor germs. In fact, there are too many to mention here. So, let’s focus on a few that you won’t want to miss.

Make a habit of regularly cleaning these items to reduce your exposure to germs, including those that can cause illness.

1. Kitchen sponges and dishcloths. They pick up germs and spread them. Since they’re often damp, they’re also perfect breeding grounds for bacteria.  

Quick tips: You can actually zap a wet sponge in the microwave for one to two minutes to kill germs — or run it through the dishwasher. Use clean dishcloths or paper towels. Wash dish towels and rags in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

2. Toothbrush holders. In your normal routine, you may forget to wash these. But remember this: They’re often placed near flushing toilets, which can send germs flying.

Quick tips: Scrub toothbrush holders with hot soapy water. If you use a cup or other freestanding holder, put it through the dishwasher once or twice a week on the hot cycle.

3. Pet bowls and toys. You don’t want to fetch bacteria, yeast and mold during playtime.

Quick tips: Wash bowls and hard toys with hot soapy water. Toss soft toys in your washing machine on a hot cycle. And always wash your hands after playing with household pets — especially before eating.

4. Countertops and cutting boards. These frequently used surfaces need on-the-spot attention to stay clean.

Quick tips: Clean countertops with hot soapy water, especially before and after preparing food. After each use, wash cutting boards. To avoid cross contamination, always use separate cutting boards for fresh produce and raw meat, poultry or fish.

5. Knobs and handles. Items people touch frequently tend to get germy.

Quick tips: Clean doorknobs, toilet handles, faucets, etc., often with hot soapy water or disinfecting wipes — especially if someone in the household is ill.

6. Coffee makers. Their water reservoirs make damp, cozy homes for bacteria to multiply in.

Quick tips: Follow the manufacturer’s directions for your coffee maker. Most advise cleaning every 40 to 80 brew cycles — or at least monthly.

7. Finally … the kitchen sink. It’s last, but certainly not least. The sink can harbor germs from all sorts of sources, from dirty sponges to grimy pans.

Quick tips: Wash the sides and bottom regularly with hot, soapy water. And don’t overlook the strainer in the drain— clean it too.

You can also use a mild water-bleach solution* or other sanitizing solution to clean some items, such as sinks, countertops, cutting boards and pet items. Rinse in clean water — and dry. 

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