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Bacteria are runnin' wild in these 7 areas of your home

Tikva Morrow is a writer and editor for Hometalk.com. Her specialties include home improvement, DIY projects, and garden care. Tikva can be reached at Tikva.Morrow@gmail.com.

You’re cleaning all the obvious spots, like floors, counters and tabletops, but you might be missing these hidden spaces, inadvertently letting the bacteria run wild. Save your house and your health by checking these hiding places and catching these crafty baddies, putting an end to potential health threats around your home.

1. Sponges

It’s super counterproductive to use a germy dish sponge to clean your dishes. And boy, is that sponge germy. Studies show that the moist, dark, porous area inside your dish sponge is the ideal place for bacteria from food particles to thrive, like E. Coli or Salmonella. To solve this nightmare, try once a week microwaving your wet sponge on a high setting for two minutes. After frying those bad bacteria, let your sponge cool before using on pots, countertops and any other part of your soon-to-be sparkling, bacteria-free kitchen.

2. Cutting boards

At one point or another, your cutting board will get to know all different kinds of foods, toting all different kinds of bacteria. Both wood and plastic cutting boards are at risk for contaminating your food, and both need to be thoroughly cleaned to avoid it. Plastic cutting boards should be run through the dishwasher often or washed with near-boiling water, and be completely dry before being put away. Wood cutting boards are porous and have deep nooks and crannies to harbor bacteria. To penetrate those hard-to-reach places, try washing your board with household hydrogen peroxide. Keep your cutting boards ready for gourmet food preparation any time you need.

Scrap Wood Cutting Board via Hometalker Rachelle F

3. Pillows

We’re very grateful to our squishy pillows after a great night’s sleep, but we don’t often consider how that downy surface is also an ideal trap for allergy-inflaming fungi. Sweat, skin particles, saliva... pillows collect all of that, attracting fungi and dust mites and causing a generally harmful situation. Keep pillows clean by washing them regularly, and try out anti-allergen covers for further allergy prevention.

Clean Feather Pillows via Hometalker Megan Rapp

4. Toothbrush

For the really germ-conscious among us, you probably try not to think too hard about this one. Your toothbrush, sitting on a shelf or counter in your bathroom, is susceptible to the far-reaching germ contamination from your toilet’s flush. Yuck. Decontaminating a toothbrush is a difficult task, but if you’re desperate, running it through the dishwasher is shown to disinfect it somewhat. The best thing to do? Keep toothbrushes in a cabinet or somewhere tucked away, and close the toilet when you flush. Change out your toothbrush every three to four months, and use your old one to get at some other tough to clean spaces, like this toothbrush cleaning trick for your humidifier.

Cleaning a Humidifier via Hometalk I Dream of Clean

5. Coffeemaker

You might think that running hot water and naturally antimicrobial coffee through your drip coffee machine would get the job done for you. But studies show that the water that runs through most coffee makers isn’t hot enough to kill anything that might be growing in the humid, dark air in your machine’s internal piping, not to mention that old coffee buildup affects the taste of a fresh pot. Don’t let your morning pick-me-up get you down. Try this tutorial for cleaning out your coffee maker using natural household products, like vinegar and baking soda.

Basic Natural Ingredients to Clean Your Coffee Maker via Hometalker Creek Line House

6. Toilet siphon jets

Because this area is under the inside rim of your toilet bowl, you’ve probably never noticed just how dirty it can get. Unfortunately, letting that area build up with gunk creates brownish residue and rings in your toilet bowl, making it much tougher to get it clean and sparkling. Prevent this phenomenon by cleaning the siphon jets with this tutorial, which uses vinegar, baking soda and water.

Keep Toilet Clean Longer via Hometalker Home Spot HQ

7. Phone

Your phone has been just about everywhere you have, except the shower, so it’s no wonder that it would be a carrier of bacterial infections. Whatever you touch comes into contact with your phone, which is often quite intimately close to your face and the area around your mouth. The fix is quick, easy and a good habit for those of us who have trouble disconnecting from our phones: Power down your phone once a week and give it a thorough wipe-down with a disinfectant wipe. If you don’t like the thought of those strong chemicals being so close to your face, try this tutorial for your own disinfectant wipes to get the trick done.

Homemade Disinfectant Wipes via Hometalker Saving 4 Six

For all of your cleaning needs, Hometalk has all the tips and tricks to help you out and get your home sparkling. Just try our Cleaning Tips page to get started.

Photo credit: Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images

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