There are places throughout our day that we would normally consider to have a germ or two (or three or four depending on our cleaning skills). Toilets, doorknobs and keyboards all come to mind. But we have a few more that might not have been on your germ-dar. Click through to see where bacteria might be lurking unknowingly in your daily routine.
It's flu shot time and there are multiple "icky" things "going around." lately. So take a stand against the germs around you and get them before they get you.
1. Your kitchen sink
Kitchen sinks are dirtier than most bathrooms. There are typically more than 500,000 bacteria per square inch in the drain alone. Plus your sponge, basin and faucet handles are crawling with bacteria as well.
Reduce the risk: Clean your kitchen counters and sink with an antibacterial product after preparing or cleansing food, especially raw fruits and vegetables, which carry lots of potential pathogens like salmonella, campylobacter and E. coli. Wash your hands as well with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds (long enough to sing "Happy Birthday"). Sanitize sponges by running them through the dishwasher's drying cycle, which will kill 99.9 percent of bacteria on them. As for the sink, clean it twice a week with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach and one quart of water. Scrub the basin, the pour solution down the drain.
2. Airplane bathrooms
It may not be a shock that there are a huge number of germs in most public bathrooms, but experts agree the cramped and overused ones on airplanes are the worst. There are often traces of E. coli or fecal bacteria on the faucets and door handles because it's hard to wash hands in the tiny sinks. And the volcanic flush of the commode tends to spew particles into the air, coating the floor and walls with whatever had been swirling around in it.
Reduce the risk: Toilet seats are surprisingly clean, but use the paper cover when available. After using the toilet, wash and dry your hands thoroughly, and use a paper towel to handle the toilet seat, lid, tap and doorknob. Put the lid down before you flush. If there's no lid, turn your back to the toilet while flushing and beat a hasty retreat.
3. A load of wet laundry
Any time you transfer underwear from the washer to the dryer, you're getting E. coli on your hands. Just one soiled undergarment can spread bacteria to the whole load and machine.
Reduce the risk: Run your washer at 150 degrees (you can check the temperature of your washing-machine water with a candy thermometer) and wash whites with bleach (not the color-safe type; it doesn't pack the same punch), which kills 99.9 percent of bugs. Transfer wet laundry to the dryer quickly so germs don't multiply, wash underwear separately (there's about a gram of feces in every pair of dirty underwear) and dry for at least 45 minutes. Wash your hands after laundering.
Check out the rest of the list over at NBC'sToday Show.
For more information on the sink pictured above check out our write up on Pedestal Sinks at Salvage One.