You’ve likely scrubbed down your bathroom at least once in the past few weeks. (Or at least, we hope you have.) You’ve probably also wiped down your phone a time or two. But when was the last time you gave your kitchen the same treatment? Because you use antibacterial soap for you and your dishes in there frequently, you might think it’s relatively clean. However, it turns out your kitchen might be the largest breeding ground for germs in your entire house.
Germs love to hang out in dark, wet, and warm places — and chances are your kitchen is at least two of those things most of the time. In fact, one initial study from NSF International, an independent public health organization, found that the kitchen is the germiest place in your home. Their studies typically don’t include more than 25 homes, but the organization has volunteers take more than 30 samples within each one, adding more than 600 swabs and samples to test for the presence of E. coli, salmonella, staph, mold and yeast, and other germs that can cause allergies or foodborne illnesses.
Germs in your kitchen
Since that first study in 2011, NSF has continued to gather samples from popular items in the home and see how contaminated they are. Over the years, they’ve compiled a list of places you’re most likely to find germs — and the places you should be cleaning more often.
Though some are incredibly obvious, such as cutting boards, counter tops, and handles on doors and refrigerators, others aren’t quite as noticeable. In other cases, you likely know you should be cleaning something, but probably aren’t taking the time to do it properly. Since studies are beginning to show that foodborne illnesses can happen at home just as much as restaurants, it’s important to set up a more thorough cleaning regimen.
“We’re not trying to scare people,” Lisa Yakas, microbiologist and manager of the Home Products Certification Program for NSF International, told ABC News. Instead, she suggests taking the extra effort to clean these areas first, and then establish routine cleaning habits moving forward.