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Just because your home appears to be clean doesn’t mean that it’s germ-free. Bacteria and other germs can grow and linger in certain areas if you do not clean them regularly, which can lead to sickness and bad odors. This list details 10 areas of your home that you may not know are filled with germs.

1.       Towels, dish rags and sponges: These items are reused for several days before being washed. Wet, dark places, like the pores in a sponge, are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. And you don’t want to clean your dishes or dry your hands with bacteria-laden items. Wash your towels and rags at least every week and toss the ‘ole sponge in lieu of a new one every two to four weeks.

2.       Kitchen surfaces: Raw meat and poultry can contain agents that cause E. coli and salmonella, respectively. Not to mention, you touch the sink knob before washing your hands, and the germs from your dirty hands can accumulate there. Lots of hands touch kitchen surfaces such as the fridge handle and the microwave buttons. These areas should all be cleaned regularly.

3.       Trash can: This is essentially a place for food to rot for a few days until trash bags are full enough to take out. It’s no wonder this area gets germy. Wipe the sides and lid of your trash can regularly to eliminate the germs and wash your hands after handling the trash.

4.       Wet clothes: We’ve all done it—started a load of laundry, forgot about it and left for the day. If wet clothing is left alone for an hour or two, it’s no problem. But after several hours (or even days—yikes!), mold can build up in the fabric. If this happens, simply re-wash the load before adding it to the dryer.

5.       Electronics: How many people touch the TV remote or the computer keyboard? How about the home phone or even your cell phone? Hands are notoriously germy because we use them to touch hundreds of objects throughout the day. Those germy hands also touch all of this electronic equipment. Routinely cleaning these items with electronic-safe cleaning products eliminates the germs.

6.       Door knobs and light switches: Similar to electronics, many germy hands flick on the lights and open and close doors every day. These areas are often overlooked when cleaning, but the truth is, they can be the dirtiest areas of your home. Wipe them down on a regular basis.

7.       Toothbrush: When you flush your toilet, the contents are partially aerosolized and splattered into the air. That means, that if you toothbrush is within a few feet of your toilet, it could be covered in a fine mist of fecal bacteria. Eww. Luckily, there’s a simple solution! Close the lid of your toilet before flushing and keep your toothbrush in a drawer for good measure.

8.       Makeup: Though it’s gross to think about, our skin is covered in bacteria. When you apply makeup, that bacteria can multiple, beyond the normal amount, on brushes and inside of the makeup itself. Replace your makeup every three to six months so it stays fresh and clean.

9.       Children’s toys and stuffed animals: Children play outside, on the floor and with other children who may be sick. Those sticky little fingers then touch toys and many other objects throughout your home. Make a habit of routinely soaking all waterproof toys in a safe cleaning solution and putting stuffed animals in the washing machine on the gentle cycle to eliminate germs.

10.   Pet areas: It goes without saying that pets are just as dirty, if not more dirty, than children. Buy pet beds with removable covers so you can unzip and wash those covers every few weeks. Habitually clean out food and water bowls, and the mats they sit on, as well.

Keeping your home clean is one more way to keep it safer. Call ACF Insurance Services at 919-878-7786 for more information on Raleigh home insurance.

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