Credit : Hunker

IF you're a clean freak, this is going to be upsetting.

Your home is teaming with bacteria - and the dirtiest items might surprise you.

These are some of the dirtiest places in your home
Nasty bugs, found in poo, lurk all over the average home - not just in the bathroom.

To test which areas of the home are the filthiest Which? looked at 10 commonly used items.

Results showed that light switches, the kettle handle, kitchen sponge, remote control, bin lid, door handles, toothbrush holder, toilet seat and taps are the dirtiest area in the home.

The surfaces were rife with bacteria, some completely harmless and others a little more suspect.

Faecal matter, including E.coli, was found on the kitchen sponge, kitchen bin, kettle handle and toilet seat.

The kitchen sponge was one of the filthiest items, containing E.coli and bacteria that can cause skin infections
These bugs can cause nasty reactions like vomiting and diarrhoea.

Staphylococcus, a bacteria that causes skin infections, was also found in a number of places including on the kitchen sponge and the toilet seat.

"The idea of faeces on the kettle is enough to put you off your tea; but in general there’s no need to panic," the report said.

"The fact that bugs are in your home doesn’t mean they are a danger.

Faecal matter, including E.coli, was found on the kitchen sponge, kitchen bin, kettle handle and toilet seat
"The key to keeping illnesses at bay is focusing on the culprits that spread pathogens around your home."

Those culprits are your hands, and any other way bacteria can spread, so make sure you wash your hands regularly.

But hard surfaces can also harbour bacteria, and some can live for weeks.

Cold viruses don't tend to live longer than 24 hours outside the body.

And the flu virus can last for 24 hours on a hard surface but only 15 minutes in a tissue.

It's norovirus you've got to watch out for - the winter vomiting bug can last for days, or even weeks, on hard surfaces.

Surfaces you frequently touch, like your remote control, had the highest number of germs
So it's important to keep things clean, especially if someone is ill.

But before you start panicking and disinfecting every area of your home, it's also healthy for there to be some germs lurking about.

Exposure to low levels of germs is what helps build up our immune systems, meaning we are more equipped to fight off bugs when we are exposed to them.

Even still, it doesn't hurt to be extra careful when it comes to bacteria.

So there are ways you can clean your home to protect your family.

Dr Primrose Freestone, associate professor in clinical microbiology at the University of Leicester, said that good cleaning is essentially about common sense.

Staphylococcus, a bacteria that causes skin infections, was found in a number of areas
She advises that good hygiene is very important but, in terms of how you clean your home, if you and you family are healthy and don’t suffer from stomach bugs or regular periods of being unwell, then you don’t need to worry too much about what you are currently doing.

And Sally Bloomfield, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, agreed adding that you only need to up your cleaning at times when infection is more likely - so when people are unwell.

She suggests concentrating on the "superhighways" that spread pathogens around the home.

That is, your hands, the surfaces you regularly touch and anything that could spread bacteria, such as kitchen cloths or sponges.

How to clean the dirtiest things in your home

Using soap and water on most things is fine, and better for the environment because you are using less disinfectant.

For surfaces like the kitchen worktop though, especially during times when bugs are rife, using a disinfectant is a good idea.

But you should always wash surfaces with hot water and soap before disinfecting them.

You should always wash surfaces with hot water and soap before disinfecting them
Sponges and dishcloths

The kitchen sponge is a hotspot for bacteria to breed and some may be potentially harmful.

Using hot water and washingup liquid alone will not kill all the bacteria.

You should put it in the dishwasher and wash on a high-temperature program or soak it in bleach overnight.

This still won’t kill everything, but will hold germs at bay.

You should replace your sponge every week.


If you are worried about the germs in your laundry then there are a few steps you can take.

Which? tested some washing machines and found that most didn't sustain a temperature of 60 degrees - high enough to kill bugs - long enough to kill any germs.

To kill germs you need to use a bleach or other disinfectant based laundry detergent.

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