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6 Surprisingly Dirty Places in Your Home

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Dirty Places: Your Toothbrush

You put it in your mouth twice a day, but do you ever think of all the germs lurking on it? “You rinse it off after using it and put it away damp,” says Abruzzo. “Bacteria like the moist area and grow on it.”

If the germs from your own mouth weren’t enough to contaminate your toothbrush, the germs from your toilet certainly are. Research in the 1970s by Charles P. Gerba, PhD, of the University of Arizona Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, found that flushing the toilet sends a spray of bacteria- and virus-contaminated water droplets into air. These germs, he found, can float around in the bathroom for at least two hours after each flush before landing on surfaces -- including your toothbrush.

Quick fix to banish bacteria:

 Abruzzo recommends placing your toothbrush where it can air out and dry between uses -- but not too close to the toilet. Also, replace your toothbrush often, particularly after you’ve been sick, and close your toilet lid before flushing.

Dirty Places: Your Salt and Pepper Shaker

Could one of the dirtiest places in your home be right on the table where you eat?

Unfortunately, yes, according to a 2008 study by researchers at the University of Virginia. In the study, researchers asked 30 adults who were beginning to show signs of a cold, to name 10 places they’d touched in their homes over the previous 18 hours. The researchers then tested those areas for cold viruses. The tests found viruses on 41% of the surfaces tested, and every one of the salt and pepper shakers tested were positive for cold viruses. 

Quick fix to banish bacteria:  

When you wipe the kitchen table after eating, wipe off the salt and pepper shaker too. But your best protection against spreading or picking up germs when you reach for seasonings is to wash your hands -- before and after.

Dirty Places: Your TV Remote Control

It’s dropped on the floor, stuffed between the sofa cushions, coughed on and sneezed at. Everyone in the house handles it.

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