Germs are unavoidable. Public transport, offices, money, door handles; we pick them up from everywhere and transport them into our homes.
Hands are undoubtedly the biggest spreaders of bacteria, but once through the door, where do these germs fester? With research by the Hygiene Council suggesting that up to two-thirds of Britons don’t follow basic hygiene, should we be worried?
When asked to name the most ‘germ heavy’ area of our homes, most would guess the toilet. However, it’s the kitchen sink that takes this award, averagely housing 100,000 times more germs than a bathroom or toilet. Kitchen sponges are the worst offenders, accommodating thousands of bacteria per square inch, including the dreaded E. coli and salmonella bacteria.
The toilet is still a germ hotspot however, as when flushed, germs can travel up to six feet, landing on the floor and any surrounding surfaces. A considerable amount of microbes remain in the bathroom for up to two hours after each flush. Remember – keep the lid down!
Feet are also at fault, with a study from the University of Arizona revealing that 420,000 units of bacteria are found on the outside of the average shoe. Carpets then act as a huge dirt reservoir, sheltering debris and dust, as well as dead skin cells. The average person sheds up to 10g of dead skin per week, which then invites dust mites, which feed on these cells. A frightening thought; a thought that makes the hoover all the more appealing!
Once germs have found their way in, it’s essential to halt their progress and eliminate them wherever possible. So, what can be done to rid these unwanted visitors?
Hygiene experts advise exercising common sense and caution when it comes to keeping germs at bay. Frequently replacing used cleaning tools such as kitchen sponges is crucial, as well as hoovering, spring-cleaning and washing linen regularly.
“The average wash load can contain 100 million E. coli bacteria,” explains Paul McDonnell, managing director at Microban Europe. This is a worrying thought, highlighting the true importance of laundry day.Frequent, thorough hand washing is also fundamental to germ reduction. Sarah Marsh, Head of Fitness and Wellbeing at Nuffield Health states, “We encounter disease-causing germs every day. These germs may easily be spread by unwashed hands, through direct contact with someone or indirectly through touching contaminated objects.” Therefore, washing your hands frequently, as well as using a hand-sanitiser, actively halts the dissemination of bacteria within the home. This also dramatically reduces the spread of colds, flu and other contagious illnesses.
With the increase of hygiene awareness and availability of efficient sanitising products, the problem of germs within the household is certainly on the decline. With this in mind, it seems that attentiveness and good old-fashioned diligence are the key to a clean and happy home.