Posted: Jan 19, 2014 9:00 AM
Sure, you know your bathroom is germy — even when you've just cleaned it. But what about other areas of your home that may be just as germ-filled? We found a few places you may want to clean. Now.

No matter how diligent you are about cleaning your home, there is always a way for germs to grow. Of course you know that bathroom fixtures, computer keyboards and light switches can harbor bacteria, but what about other hiding places?

Why worry about germs?

When the temperature is favorable and the proper nutrients are available, some forms of bacteria can divide every 20 minutes and spread rapidly. While it's true that our immune systems are designed to protect us against these tiny invaders, chances are you will be confronted with one your body can't fight — and boom, you're sick. We found some unusual places where germs love to hide, and tips on how to keep it clean.

  1. Salt & pepper shakers

    In 2008, researchers at the University of Virginia studied where germs are most commonly found in our homes. Sixteen people who tested positive for rhinovirus were asked to name 10 places in their home they had recently touched. Of the 160 surfaces sampled, 41 percent tested positive — and 100 percent of the salt and pepper shakers.

  2. Kitchen sink drain

    Think your kitchen sink is clean? It seems like the place you constantly run hot, soapy water would be one of the cleanest spots in the house, but it turns out the kitchen sink drain is a major breeding ground for bacteria. A moist environment and an abundance of food particles are an open invitation to bacteria to set up shop and multiply.

  3. Dishwasher

    Who knew that the very place you wash and sanitize your plates is home for mold and mildew? Watch for mold around the edges of the dishwasher door and on the inside around the perimeter of the tub. Any mold or mildew that forms and is left to grow essentially gets blasted all over your dishes when you think they are being sanitized.

  4. Refrigerator seal

    Do you ever really look at the rubber seal that runs along the edges of your refrigerator door? It's a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, and you may be coming into contact with it each time you open the door to grab a snack.

  5. Carpet

    Think of your carpet as a giant air filter. Even if you vacuum on a regular basis, your carpet is full of gross stuff. From tiny food particles to skin cells, pet dander, pollen and dirt tracked in from outdoors — your carpet is like a buffet for germs. If you are waiting until your carpet looks dirty to clean it properly, you may be waiting too long. Most of these contaminants are trapped down deep in the carpet.

  6. Washing machine

    Germs love wet laundry left in a machine, even for a short amount of time. It's best to transfer wet clothes to the dryer as soon as they finish the wash cycle. Clothes left too long should be re-washed.

Use our chart below to learn how to keep these surfaces clean

6 Germiest surfaces and keeping them clean
Click to enlarge

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