The most unexpectedly germ-ridden places in your home

Everyone has skipped on washing the dishes, pushed off the laundry for a few more days or forgotten to clean up after themselves. We all lead busy lives and cleaning up sometimes takes a back seat. But do you know what happens when you conveniently “forget” to do those dishes? Do you know what the outcome of skipping laundry day can be? Neither did we, which is why this next story might come as a bit of a shock to you.

Germs. They are everywhere, though some of them are actually good for you. However, we’re talking about the ones that aren’t. There are places in everyone’s homes, apartments, and workspaces that are covered in bacteria, mold, yeasts and dangerous germs that can make you really ill. By not cleaning up often enough, these objects and places can get infested with germs, which can do more than just make you feel a little bit under the weather.


But where are these germs collecting? What exactly is it that we need to thoroughly clean? And how do we kill these germs? Is soap not enough?

All of these pressing questions and more were on the minds of a couple of scientists who decided to get some answers. They conducted an experiment to find out wherein your house bacteria and germs are most concentrated and then explained exactly how to kill them, as sometimes soap is in fact not enough. That’s why these scientists did us all the favor of a lifetime by telling us where to focus in our cleaning, and how to avoid getting those fateful bacterial diseases.

If you had to guess right now where the dirtiest place in your house is, most people would guess the bathroom. And if you needed to get more specific, the toilet would be an easy choice. You would think the toilet has the most germs and bacteria in it for obvious reasons. However, you might be surprised to find out that not only is the toilet not the most germ-ridden place in your house, but it does not even crack the top ten germiest spots at home. It may also shock you to find out the toilet is actually one of the cleaner places in the common household! So where are all this disease-causing germs and bacteria hanging out? What is the number one germ-infested place in your house?


Scientists swabbed 30 different places in 22 homes order to find out what objects and places held the most bacteria and mold that can cause very dangerous diseases or infections. If you thought  the most germ-filled place was the garbage can, you are dead wrong. You are going to be surprised to find out that the places with the most germs that can cause diseases are what you might consider being perfectly clean. Get ready to be shocked and surprised.

Cutting boards

Theses scientists proved that 18 percent of the cutting boards found in the 22 tested homes harbored dangerous bacteria because 14 percent of them had yeasts and molds. Just because you only cut an apple on your cutting board doesn’t mean you can skip the wash. To prevent these dangerous bacteria from building up then you need to either place your cutting board into the dishwasher straight after use or wash it by hand with hot and soapy water.

Stove Knobs

Stove knobs surprisingly made it to the ninth most germ-ridden spot in your entire home. 27 percent of stove top knobs held mold on it as well as yeasts. It is scary to think that these normal household objects and places can be dangerous and hold so much bacteria. The scientists also found that 14 percent of stove tops held bacteria. To make sure your stovetop knobs are clean, remove them once a week and wash with hot soapy water.

Kitchen counters

It makes sense that your kitchen counter is the eighth dirtiest and most germ-filled place in your house. Every time you dropped soup, a bit of your cracked egg and even cake mix onto your counter and forgot to properly clean it up after yourself, well, it adds up. 18 percent of kitchen counters had mold on them as well as 32 percent of kitchen counters contained coliform bacteria. Don’t fret, a little bit of bleach and water solution before cooking is all you need to wash the germs away.

Pet toys

Pet toys are obviously dirty but who knew they could actually be dangerous to your own pets? Pet toys harbored the most staph bacteria out of all household items and objects tested. This bacteria could potentially be very dangerous. Yeasts and molds were found on 55 percent of pet toys and 14 percent of the toys held coliform bacteria. So how do we keep both our pets and ourselves safe? Throw any soft toys in the laundry machine and hard toys should be washed with soap, water, and a little bleach.

Faucet handles

Ironically, the tool that helps you get rid of dirt and bacteria holds a great deal of germs. It’s a Catch-22, since they themselves are hard to clean. Faucets were found to be the sixth most germ-filled place, with 27 percent of bathroom and sink faucets found with mold, and five percent harboring staph bacteria. How do you remedy the situation? It is crucial to disinfect your faucets every single day with spray or disinfectant wipes.

Coffee makers

We are all thinking it. No! Not the coffee! Microorganisms love dark and damp places, so they beeline straight for the coffee maker, which is both of those things. Sadly, the tests showed that a whopping 50 percent of coffee makers had mold and yeasts while coliform bacteria was found in nine percent of them. Don’t throw away your coffee just yet. Instead, add 4 cups of vinegar (gross, we know) to the reservoir and brew the vinegar to clean it out. Then run two or three cycles with just water to get rid of the vinegary smell.

Pet bowls

Pet bowls were the fourth most dirty place in the home, which harbored the most germs. 45 percent of pet bowls had mold and yeast in the study conducted. This is bad news for your pet and yes for you too, who likes to get nice and cuddly with your them. 18 percent of pet bowls also contained coliform bacteria. The solution, however, is quite simple. Just throw the pet bowl into your dishwasher. No dishwasher? No problem. Just give it a rinse with clean water and bleach.

Toothbrush holders

It makes perfect sense that toothbrush holders would be the third most most germ-ridden household object. Flushing the toilet actually sends out a spray of fecal-containing aerosols that can be dangerous if your toothbrush is in the line of fire. That is exactly why 64 percent of toothbrush holders contained molds and yeasts, 27 percent harbored coliform, and 24 percent had staph. It makes you think twice about your toothbrush holder now, doesn’t it? Just chuck the toothbrush in the dishwasher twice a week and you’ll be fine.

Kitchen sinks

The second most germ-infested place in your home is your sink. Surprising right? The study showed that 45 percent of kitchen sinks harbored coliform bacteria. Which is not something you want on your dishes that you eat off of. 27 percent of Kitchen sinks also tested positive for various molds. In order to prevent these bacteria and molds you must clean the sink as well as the sides of the sink twice a week and use a water and bleach solution once a month.

Dish sponges/rags

Well folks, we have arrived. I’m sorry to tell you your most germ-infested household object is your cleaning sponge. Why isn’t it the toilet, you might ask. How is that the soap sponge used to clean your dishes actually contains tons of bacteria? Well, as it so happens, 77 percent of the sponges examined harbored coliform bacteria. 86 percent contained yeast and mold, and most frightening – 18 percent held staph bacteria. To kill such bacteria off, microwave wet sponges for two minutes and replace them at least every two weeks.

What is staph bacteria anyway

Staph bacteria is actually short for the name Staphylococcus aureus. Staph is part of the Eubacteria kingdom. This bacteria as you have seen is found in many household items can turn into multiple types of diseases when humans ingest them. The bacteria can lead to food poisoning, cellulitis, toxic shock syndrome, boils, or impetigo. Scarily enough, if these boils or diseases are not correctly treated with antibiotics then it can get into the bloodstream and be extremely dangerous.

Remote control

The whole family touches the remote control on a daily basis and even sometimes the household pet might get a swipe at it too. The problem is exacerbated by eating popcorn, chips, and other oily foods while watching TV and consequently transferring the oils to the remote. That gives the bacteria something to nourish on and really worsens the problem. Bacteria thrive in warm, dark places, which is a problem since the remote is usually forgotten between couch cushions. Use a disinfectant wipe on it at least once a week.

Bath Towels

Surprisingly the thing that you use to dry yourself when you are at your cleanest actually holds a substantial amount of germs and bacteria. This happens because bath towels usually stay damp for over 20 minutes, which makes them a breeding ground for bacteria who thrive in damp and moist environments. These towels can actually give you rashes or perhaps give you an infection if there is too much bacteria on it. Therefore it is really important to dry your towel as quickly as possible and wash it after three to four uses.

Purses and wallets

The bottom of handbags and wallets contain tens of thousands of bacteria, while some purses can actually hold millions. Crazy, right? But it makes sense when you think about where you drop your handbag. You have sat it down in your grocery cart, on the floor of the gym, and it usually sits on the floor of your car while you are driving. To keep your handbag clean and bacteria free, use a fabric-safe sanitizing spray or a disinfectant wipe if it is made of leather or vinyl.

Family Room Carpet

The rug in the most often used room can harbor up to 200,000 bacteria per square inch. Carpet fibers can also contain E. coli, Salmonella, and MRSA (a type of bacteria that cause skin infections). Animal and human skin particles, food particles, and everything else that falls on the carpet can become a breeding ground of bacteria. Therefore you should vacuum your carpet weekly and spray it with a sanitizer. It’s also crucial to have a professional to clean the germs off of your carpet once a year.


Funny how you use a bath to soak away the dirt and chances are that the bathtub itself is not as clean as you thought it was. Any leftover water that does not immediately dry up in the bathtub becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, mold, and staff. Since leftover skin cells and dirt can be left behind in the bath it gives the bacteria nutrition to grow. That is why you need to dry your bathtub after every use and spray it with hydrogen peroxide three times a week.

Okay, what about my toilet?

We are all thinking it. What about the toilet? When you say the top germiest places in your home, we all immediately picture the toilet. However, shockingly the study that was done on those 22 homes showed that only 5 percent of toilet seats held bacteria. That was less than the bacteria found in lunch boxes and the same number that was found on light switches. We assume that this is because toilet seats already have a stigma for being dirty so people are extra vigilant about keeping them clean.

Car door handle

The car door handle may not exactly be a household object, but it technically counts if the car is parked in your garage. We had to fit in this germ offender to let you know how many germs are crawling all over your car door handle. 41 percent of car door handles held bacteria which makes sense because most of us would never think to clean it. But the solution is simple, just run a disinfectant wipe over the handle and don’t forget the underhand and clean it a few times a week and you’re in the clear.

Light switches

How could those clean white rectangles be dirty? From the naked eye, it looks like it would be one of the cleanest places in your house however it is one of the most touched items in your house and it just so happens that your hands aren’t always the cleanest when you touch the light switch. The bathroom light switch was the germiest one found in the house most likely because people can forget to wash their hands after.

Refrigerator handle

You know when you open the refrigerator three or four times just to check what’s in it? Or when you are cooking and your hands are full of oils and food but you need something from the fridge so you open the fridge with your dirty hands promising yourself to clean it up later? It all adds up to making it one of the germiest places in your home. 9 percent of refrigerator handles contain germs, so make sure to use disinfectant wipes on the fridge handle as often as you can.

Lunch box

It isn’t too surprising to find out that lunchboxes are one of the most germiest places in your home. Usually, lunchboxes are used by children and they will be the last ones to clean them out. There is leftover food sitting in warm temperatures of the classroom most of the day which is what germs and bacteria thrive in. Yogurt and other foods can explode in lunchboxes and even just common crumbs can feed the bacteria. That is why it is important to throw the lunchbox in the dishwasher as often as possible.

Liquid soap dispensers

Since the first thing that you reach for when your hands are dirty is the soap dispenser it makes perfect sense that this would be one of the dirtiest places in your home. Bacteria and soap scum build up around the soap dispenser. The soap dispenser in the bathroom may contain fecal bacteria but it is no better than the one in the kitchen that may contain bacteria from raw chicken, meat, and anything else that you have been cooking. Make sure to wipe down the soap dispenser with an antimicrobial cleanser every time you use it.

The washing machine

The washing machine receives all the germs that were in your underwear, which even the average clean person has. People’s underwear actually contains tons of bacteria no matter how much you wipe or how clean you are. The bacteria then spreads in the warm water to 90 percent of the other clothing that is being washed at the same time. This bacteria can cause illness and will survive at any water temperature. Therefore make sure to use the dryer on your clothes at a high temperature to kill those bacteria.