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6 Surprisingly Dirty Places in Your Home

By Mary Anne Dunkin
WebMD Feature

If you dropped a piece of fruit in your kitchen sink while rinsing it, would you think twice about popping it in your mouth? What if you dropped it in the toilet?

Germs like cold viruses and bacteria can live in some unexpected spots. Here are six surprisingly dirty places in your home -- like your kitchen sink -- and what you can do to protect yourself.

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Dirty Places: The Kitchen Sink

Although the mere thought of retrieving anything from your toilet bowl may be enough to make you sick, your toilet may be cleaner than your kitchen sink, says Eileen Abruzzo, director of infection control at Long Island College Hospital of Brooklyn, New York. Food particles from plates left to soak or rinsed from dishes on their way to the dishwasher can serve as a breeding ground for illness-causing bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. They can get on your hands or spread to foods.

Although most people take steps to disinfect their toilet bowls, few give their kitchen sink the same consideration, Abruzzo tells WebMD. “They rinse their sinks with water and assume they are clean -- but they’re not.”

Quick fix to banish bacteria:

To sanitize your sink and prevent the spread of bacteria, Abruzzo recommends washing it with a solution of bleach and water once a day and then letting the solution run down the drain. Remember to remove the drain plug and clean it, too, she says. Then wash your hands.

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