With the cold and flu season well under way, you'll want to do whatever you can to keep the germs that lead to illness away from your family. There are a few areas in a home where family members are especially likely to pick up germs and bacteria, but there are some steps you can take to minimize these threats.
- The Kitchen Sink. A kitchen sink can contain mold, E. coli, and other nasty bacteria. A wet sink filled with dirty dishes and vegetable peelings is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. It's best to sanitize your kitchen sink at least twice a week to reduce bacteria growth.
- Dish Sponges. A dish sponge is paradise for salmonella because it stays moist most of the time. Each day, put your dish sponge into the microwave on high for about 30 seconds to kill bacteria.
- Cutting Boards. The cutting board in your kitchen can contain salmonella and campylobacter among other types of bacteria. Consider using one cutting board for meat and another for chopping veggies to reduce cross-contamination. Wash them with dish soap and warm water after each use.
- Toothbrush Holders. Toothbrush holders are known to have yeast, mold, and even staph. These germs can spray out of a toilet when it's flushed, landing on whatever is nearby. Sanitize your toothbrush holder by running it through the dishwasher once per week. Also, do yourself a favor and close the lid of the toilet before flushing it.
- Kitchen Counters. Kitchen counters can take on E. coli when family members wipe them with sponges containing bacteria. Wiping your countertops with disinfectant spray once a day and drying them completely with paper towels is an effective way to kill bacteria.
- Pet Food Bowls. Mold and yeast are often found in or around a pet's food bowl. This bacteria grows quickly when a pet leaves its food sitting for hours. Washing your pet's bowls each day with hot water and dish soap can cut down on bacteria. If you have an outdoor pet, consider putting the bowls out by your shed when it's warmer out to keep those germs out of your home.
- Bathroom Faucets. Staph and coliform bacteria are commonly found on bathroom faucets. Germs are left behind when family members touch the faucets after using the facilities. Most faucets are never completely dry, making it easy for bacteria to grow. Using disinfectant wipes on your bathroom faucets once per day can help reduce germs.
- The Washing Machine. E. coli, salmonella, and Klebsiella oxytoca are some types of bacteria that can live in your washing machine. Leaving wet clothing in a washing machine can lead to this type of bacteria growth, so it's best to move wet clothes to the dryer right away. Also, sanitize your washer by wiping its drum with disinfectant wipes. And keep the lid open to allow it to dry completely.
- Stove Knobs. Stove knobs are touched each day by family members after they prepare food, handle sponges, etc. They can take on coliform bacteria, mold, and yeast. To cut down on the bacteria, remove your stove knobs weekly and soak them in hot water mixed with dish soap.
- The Coffee Maker. Are you a dedicated coffee-drinker? Well, finding out that the moist reservoir inside your coffee maker may contain mold and yeast may make you think twice about that morning cup of coffee. Luckily, you can kill bacteria by pouring four cups of white vinegar into the reservoir. Let it remain there for about 30 minutes, then run water through it until the vinegar fragrance has dissipated. Do this about once a week.
Grab those yellow rubber gloves and go after that bacteria with vigor! Or, in some cases, vinegar. Thanks for reading. - Alan