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6 Surprisingly Dirty Places in Your Home

Dirty Places: Your Bathtub

The place where you clean yourself is not so clean itself. A recent study found staphylococcus bacteria in 26% of the tubs tested. A separate study had even worse findings for whirlpool tubs. When Texas A&M University microbiologist Rita Moyes, PhD tested 43 water samples from whirlpools, she found that all 43 had mild to dangerous bacterial growth. Almost all showed bacteria from fecal matter; 81% had fungi, and 34% contained staph bacteria.

According to Moyes, the main reason whirlpool tubs are so dirty has to do with the lining of the pipes. Water tends to get trapped in the pipes, providing a breeding ground for bacteria. When you turn on the jets, the germy water spouts out into the tub where you're soaking.

Quick fix to banish bacteria:

Experts recommend cleaning and disinfecting your tub with bleach or bathroom cleaner after bathing, then dry with a clean towel. For whirlpool tubs, the best way to prevent bacteria from accumulating is to clean out the pipes.

 

Protecting Yourself from Germs

Lots of germs are harmless, many are even good for your health. But you can help protect yourself from those that aren’t by keeping your hands clean. Your hands transfer bacteria and viruses to your eyes, nose, and mouth. They can also transfer germs to others.

The CDC recommends regular hand washing with soap and water, washing your hands for 20 seconds -- the time it takes you to sing Happy Birthday twice. “It doesn’t matter how warm the water is, what’s important is that you use friction,” says Abruzzo.

Hand sanitizer gels can be used to kill germs, but they should not replace hand washing. Hand sanitizers can build up on the hands, so you should wash your hands the regular way after every fourth use, Abruzzo advises.

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Reviewed on September 21, 2010
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