Are There Germs Hiding In Your Home?

Surprising Places You Might Find Germs That Can Make You Sick

Man cleaning
Do you know where the germs are in your home?. Cultura/Liam Norris/Getty Images

Do you have a clean home? We all know that our bathrooms are hotbeds for germ, but did you know that many germs that will make you sick are lurking around your home in places you may never have considered? When you have a cold, you could be spreading the virus all over your home and passing it on to other members of your family without knowing it. The viruses that most frequently cause colds, known as rhinoviruses, can actually live on surfaces for up to two days!

Studies have shown that these viruses are found on locations throughout the home. Some of the most common include:

  • Doorknobs
  • Refrigerator door handles
  • Light switches
  • Telephones
  • Remote controls
  • Bathroom faucets
  • Dishwasher handles
  • Salt and pepper shakers

I don't know about you, but some of these are places that are not regularly cleaned in my home.

What You Can Do

A few ideas to make sure you have a clean home and you and your family stay healthy include:

  • Washing your hands
    Keeping your hands clean is the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Wash your hands any time you cough, sneeze or blow your nose. If you wash your hands right away, you minimize the number of surfaces you touch while you have germs on your hands.
  • Disinfect those surfaces
    Disinfecting wipes are a great and easy way to keep all of those surfaces that are covered in germs clean. And skip the air spray (unless you just like the smell), the viruses that cause colds aren’t spread through the air so spraying those air fresheners won't cut down on the spread of illness. Cleaning these surfaces frequently will help keep germs at bay.
  • Be aware of what you touch
    Whether you are at home or out in public, you should always be aware of the things you touch. We know that the cold virus is transmitted most commonly by touching things that are contaminated, so if you have touched any surface which could have viruses on it (which is pretty much anywhere), you should wash your hands before you eat or touch your face. And always, always wash your hands after you use the restroom.

    Of course it’s impossible to avoid all types of germs and viruses all the time. But if you are aware of what is in your home and follow some of these steps, you can cut down on your chances of getting sick. It sure would be nice if those cold viruses were big enough to see, wouldn’t it?


    “Contamination of Surfaces in Homes of Adults with Natural Rhinovirus Colds and Transfer to Fingertips During Normal Daily Activities.” Abstract. ICAAC/IDSA 46th Annual Meeting 28 Oct 08. 06 Nov 08.

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