Keeping your home free of bacteria

Since my young baby began to crawl, I am extremely conscious of the dirt and bacteria around my home. What, in particular, should I look out for to minimise by children’s exposure to bacteria? Mark

Since my young baby began to crawl, I am extremely conscious of the dirt and bacteria around my home. What, in particular, should I look out for to minimise by children’s exposure to bacteria? Mark

It is understandable to be anxious with a young baby and it is important to ensure your home is as clean as possible.

A recent study of homes by the US Hygiene Council found the following areas to have the most bacteria per square inch:

1.Toilet bowl

2.Kitchen drain

3.Sponge or counter-wiping cloth

4.Bathtub, near the drain

5.Kitchen sink, near the drain

6.Kitchen tap handle

7.Toilet flusher handle

8.Bathroom sink, near the drain

9.Pet food dish, inside the rim

10.Kitchen floor, in front of sink

Dustbin lids, microwave buttons, dish towels, computer keyboards and kitchen countertops are other areas which are commonly alive with bacteria.

Here are some precautions you can take to cut down on the bacteria levels in your home.

Disinfect your bath plughole regularly – the average bath plughole is surrounded by microbes. There are about eight times more bacteria there, in soapy slime, than are found in a typical kitchen sink.

Clean computer keyboards – research has found that the average keyboard is teaming with bacteria, more than on a typical toilet seat. In one survey of 33 keyboards, four carried staphylococcus and E.coli germs and one was so filthy it was quarantined.

Pay close attention to carpets and rugs – carpets provide the perfect home for a whole range of bacteria which vacuum cleaners struggle to pick up, including allergy creating dust mites and their faeces, as well as human skin cells. You should regularly steam clean your carpets to kill mites and bugs.

Disinfect vacuum cleaners – In a University of Arizona study of vacuum cleaner brushes, 50 per cent contained faecal bacteria and 13 per cent the E.coli bug. Brushes and attachments should be disinfected after each use.

Don’t use the hot press to dry clothes – The warm environment provides the ideal breeding conditions for germs. Make sure that wherever possible you leave laundry to dry outside in the fresh air. Sunlight kills most microbes.

Regularly change your toothbrush – A study by the University of Manchester discovered that the average toothbrush contained 10 million germs including staphylococci and streptococcus. Replace your toothbrush every three months.

Wash dishcloths and kitchen sponges regularly or use paper towels – An average dishcloth contains about 130,000 bacteria per square inch according to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control. Experts believe that contamination from cloths, wipes and sponges is the main cause of food poisoning in the home. Because these cloths are used to wipe work surfaces, the average work surface is often actually dirtier than the average toilet seat or rubbish bin.

Use a wooden chopping boards – in the 1990s, the trend from wooden to plastic chopping boards was born of a belief that plastic boards were more hygienic plastic could be cleaned at higher temperatures and was safer. However, it is now believed that wood, if properly washed and sanitised, is the most hygienic chopping surface.

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