Fall and winter are known for a lot of things, one of the worst being cold and flu season. Germs just seem to multiply this season and everyone seems to be sick. If you’re trying not to get sick, you may be frightened to find how the most common items you touch—from the kitchen to your couch and other upholstery—are actually crawling with dangerous germs. 

The list of surprisingly dirty items in your home could go on and on. But for now, here are the top 11. 

Money

It’s estimated that the average dollar bill touches about 14,000 sets of hands in its lifetime. It’s no surprise that cash can carry pathogens, bacteria, and even traces of drugs

This might make us think twice before using “dirty money”—or at least not sanitizing our hands after a cash transaction, especially during flu season. 

Wallets

Similar to most of these items, we remember to wash our hands but there are tons of things we touch that we forget about. Our wallet goes with us about everywhere we go and it will pick up those germs. Next time you are cleaning your phone another one of the items on this list, give it a quick run over. 

Shopping Carts

Because shopping carts are in contact with so many people’s hands and are pushed around different foods all day, almost all of them are contaminated with germs. That’s why many stores provide wipes that you can use to sanitize the carts.

It may seem small, but it is these extra steps that can make a big difference in staying healthy.

Couch

Our families and pets lounge on our couches every day. Yet surprisingly, the couch is one of the least cleaned items in our homes. We might spot cleans small stains on our couch, but rarely do people remember to deep clean their couches. 

Upholstery can help filter the air in our home, but that means all that dust, dirt, and grime build up in the fibers. The average sofa is filled with harmful allergens and bacteria that only professional cleaning methods can reach.

Computer Keyboard

The crevices in a keyboard are the perfect hiding places for germs. In fact, most computer keyboards contain bacteria, yeast, and mold. This is especially true for computers in public places, like the office. 

You may consider sanitizing your computer keys a little more often. Clean your mouse too while you’re at it. 

Cell Phone

Did you know that the device glued to your hand probably contains 10 times more germs than the toilet seat in a public restroom? And you put that up to your face! 

Most people hardly put their phones down—even to use the bathroom. As a result, our cell phones are infested with a variety of bacteria that can cause pneumonia, infections, food poisoning, and more! Take your phone out of its case and wipe them both down with a sanitizing wipe regularly. 

Kitchen Sponges and Towels

A recent study found that kitchen sponges contain about 10 million bacteria per square inch—which equates to 200,000 more than the average toilet seat! And that’s what we use to clean our dishes! 

Dish towels are scary, too. Another study found that towels were actually the filthiest (meaning E Coli and Salmonella infested) than any other surface tested. Yikes. Regularly switch out your towels and wash them in a rotation.

Kitchen Sink

The kitchen sink, including the faucet and handles, is thought of as a cleaning place. It’s also a spot crawling with bacteria that can make us sick. 

In fact, the kitchen is actually worse than the bathroom. This makes sense when considering how much raw food and other gunk is rinsed down the drain. 

A recent study concluded that almost half of kitchen sinks contain coliform bacteria (a family of bacteria that includes Salmonella and E Coli). It’s time to deep clean your sink!  

Remote Control

The next time you reach for the remote to binge on Netflix, consider the fact that it’s probably covered in bacteria and mold.

While remote controls in our homes are bad enough, the ones in hotel rooms are even worse—with more than 13 times the maximum acceptable level of bacteria per cubic center allowed in hospitals. Most of these items can be cleaned really fast with cleaning wipes, so take a second while your movie loads.

Fridge Handle

While you may think you washed your hands well enough after touching that raw piece of chicken, chances are, traces of bacteria were left behind. 

We often reach in and out of the refrigerator during cooking—transferring dangerous germs and bacteria. Plus, unless you wash your hands several times a day, contaminants are transferred to your fridge handle any time you reach for a snack. This can be one of the most dangerous because of raw cooking.

Toothbrush & Toothbrush Holder

Think about it—when you’re done brushing your teeth, your brush probably sits there wet overnight. This frequent moisture creates a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause illnesses like meningitis

While you may think your toothbrush and its holder are far enough from the toilet to be exposed to fecal germs, the fact is, everything within a 6 foot radius can be contaminated when a toilet is flushed with the seat up. Maybe it’s time to move your toothbrush or replace it altogether. 

Solutions To Eliminate Bacteria And Allergens

The best way to attack these germ-infested areas in our homes is simply to clean them more frequently. Hand washing is also one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. 

Get into the habit of carrying hand sanitizer with you and have disinfecting wipes or spray handy to clean your home. Some items (like sponges and toothbrushes) need to be disposed of and replaced often. 

For areas like your couch and other upholstery, vacuuming and spot cleaning on your own can help. However, in order to eliminate allergens and bacteria and create a healthy home, upholstery should be professionally cleaned at least once a year. If there are children or pets in the home, you should have your furniture professionally cleaned at least every 6 months. 

When it comes to a healthy home, Southside Chem-Dry has you covered. Use these limited-time coupons to save big on your next upholstery cleaning in the Norfolk, Virginia area!