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Germs Right at Home in American Houses

Americans Rank High for Hygiene Habits Despite Germy Kitchens, Bathrooms

Findings for Homes in the U.S. continued...

The council was formed in 2006 as a disease-fighting initiative involving public health experts worldwide. The global swab-down was sponsored by Reckitt Benckiser, maker of Lysol brand products, with the goal of identifying dirty spots and offering recommendations to help people make household items cleaner.

The study results “show that certain areas in our homes are being neglected when it comes to hygiene,” says the Laura Jana, MD, of the Hygiene Council. “For example, cleaning with a dirty cloth or not thoroughly washing hands will simply spread bacteria rather than kill harmful organisms. And when someone has been sick, this can be detrimental to the entire household.”

The global analysis also found that:

  • India and Saudi Arabia had the dirtiest kitchen towels. Households in the U.S. and Germany had the cleanest.
  • Saudi Arabia and India had the dirtiest teapot (or coffee pot) handles. Handles in the U.S. and Canada were the cleanest.
  • Saudi Arabia had the dirtiest computer keyboard and mouse surfaces, followed by Malaysia and Germany.
  • 6% of baby stroller handles worldwide were found to be heavily contaminated. South Africa had the dirtiest.

The council offered a number of recommendations for killing germs or at least for fighting harder against them. These include:

  • In the bathroom, more cleaning may be needed for the bathroom seals. A mold and mildew remover is needed on a regular basis to keep mold spores at a minimum.
  • Dirty kitchen towels should be washed at high temperatures -- above 140 degrees F to kill bacteria, or consider using an antibacterial laundry aid. Keep kitchen towels dry and do not use them for drying hands or washing children’s faces.
  • Wash hands regularly and thoroughly.


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