There’s never been more important time to keep a home free of bacteria and viruses. That’s why we created a clear, easy-to-follow guide on cleaning and sanitizing the spots on your home that collect the most germs.
The Most Common Household Germs
From stomach bugs to listeria to E.coli, even the cleanest home harbors invisible microbes that can potentially cause mild and serious illnesses.
In fact, one analysis of 30 different “high-touch” spots in the average home found 340 different types of germs including:
- Campylobacter - foodborne illness that causes nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
- Clostridium difficile (C. diff) - bacteria causing diarrhea and colitis
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) - an infection caused by a certain strep bacteria
- Escherichia coli (E.coli) - certain strains of this bacteria can cause serious abdominal illness
- Salmonella - bacteria that can cause fever, diarrhea, and stomach cramps
- Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) - a germ most people carry. In some cases, it can lead to sepsis, pneumonia, and other serious illnesses.
- Streptococcus (Strep) - bacteria causing a host of illnesses from strep throat to scarlet fever, and pneumonia
By focusing on the most germ-laden areas of your home, you’ll help to eliminate bacteria, mold, and fungi – and reduce your family’s chances of getting sick.
First Thing’s First: Keep New Pathogens Out
Whenever you come home, you might be bringing uninvited guests back on your:
- Laptop case
- Take-out meals
With COVID-19 and flu season, it’s always smart to take extra precautions. In addition to disinfecting your belongings:
- Take your shoes off outside, spray them with a disinfectant, and store them in an entryway/mudroom to avoid tracking dangerous microbes throughout your home.
- If you’re a frontline worker, immediately throw your clothes into the washing machine upon arriving home.
- Consider taking a shower immediately (and require mandatory bathtime for the kids when they come home).
- Keep hand sanitizer at the main entry points of your home
Why You Need to Clean Before Disinfecting
There’s actually a major difference between cleaning and disinfecting – and this can help you learn how to tackle certain germy hotspots. One of the most important things to remember: Disinfectants can only effectively kill germs when messes are first removed.
Cleaning removes dirt, gunk, and other impurities from all of the soft and hard surfaces in your home. And even though cleaning doesn’t necessarily kill every germ, it definitely helps to limit their numbers while reducing the chances of them spreading.
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For light cleaning, our Multi-Surface Spray breaks down dirt, grease, and gunk from all of your non-porous surfaces.
When to Disinfect Surfaces
Typically, disinfectants don’t remove dirt and build-up on surfaces, but they do focus on killing the germs and bacteria living on them. To thoroughly disinfect, you need to use products exactly as directed. In many cases, this means allowing them to stay wet on a respective surface for minutes at a time.
Does Puracy Disinfect?
In 2020, we launched our Disinfecting Surface Cleaner. This 2-in-1 hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectant is unique in that it cleans surfaces, but it also kills 99.9+% of bacteria and viruses (within 10 minutes of soak time), including:
- Influenza (e.g. influenza A, H1N1)
- Staph (staphylococcus aureus)
- Listeria (listeria monocytogenes)
- Pseudomonas (pseudomonas aeruginosa)
- Trichophyton (trichophyton mentagrophytes)
- E. coli (escherichia coli)
The 4 Spots That Kitchen Bacteria & Viruses Thrive
Kitchens can be microbial incubators, and the ideal environment for countless yucky germs and bacteria to thrive.
1. Kitchen Sponges
Because sponges retain water (and don’t usually dry out completely between uses), they make a great home for moisture-loving bacteria. And when we use them to wash food, dishes, and countertops, we spread those germs from one surface to another via cross-contamination.
Researchers found 362 different types of bacteria in household sponges including:
- Enterobacter cloacae
How to Keep Kitchen Sponges Clean
To keep your sponge clean and prevent spreading bacteria around your kitchen, allow your sponge to dry out between uses – and replace it often. Instead of wiping it across food surfaces and countertops, choose washable microfiber towels for those tasks instead.
Most experts recommend replacing your kitchen sponges every 1-2 weeks, but we prefer reaching for an OXO Dish Brush instead: It’s non-porous, gentle on surfaces, drains completely, and doesn’t harbor germs.
2. Kitchen Sinks
The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) found that kitchen sinks are the second dirtiest spots in the home – and nearly half of those evaluated had coliform.
To clean your kitchen sink and prevent the spread of germs, spray down your kitchen sink with hot water every day. Once a week, use an OXO dish brush with a healthy amount of Puracy Natural Dish Soap to scrub every square inch (including the drain area). Rinse with hot water.
3. Cutting Boards
If you use a cutting board to prep meals, germs from your food can be transferred to your hands, utensils, and countertops.
To keep cutting boards clean and prevent cross-contamination:
- Color-code boards to designate which are used for meat, poultry, fish and all other kinds of foods.
- Clean and sanitize cutting boards after each use and replace them relatively often (grooves caused by knives can harbor moisture and bacteria).
- Disinfect wood cutting boards by spraying them with a solution of 1 tablespoon liquid chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water. Allow to dry and rinse with water to remove bleach residue.
- Dishwasher-safe plastic cutting boards can be cleaned with our Disinfecting Surface Cleaner – or run through a hot/sanitize dishwasher cycle.
4. Coffee Pots
Coffee reservoirs are another good hiding spot for mold and coliform. Mold can trigger headaches and sinus issues, coliform can cause stomach bugs, and they can flat-out change the taste of your morning brew.
To prevent bacteria buildup and keep your java tasting fresh, deep clean your coffee maker at least once a month. Use a vinegar-water solution for the main unit and a natural dish soap to scrub the carafe (and other detachable parts).
The 3 Germiest Spots in Your Bathroom
Higher temperatures and humidity make the bathroom the perfect place for germs to thrive. Here are some of the dirtiest spots in the bathroom, as well as tips for keeping them clean:
1. Handles & Door Knobs
Everything your hands come into contact with is transferred to the handles of your faucet, cupboards, doorknobs, and light switches (and vice versa). These should be disinfected every few days to remove viruses, yeast, coliform, and mold.
Use Puracy Multi-Surface Spray to remove regular dirt and grime. When it’s time to disinfect faucet handles and other hardware, spray them with Puracy Disinfecting Surface Cleaner, let the liquid sit for at least 10 minutes, and wipe away with a clean, dry microfiber towel.
2. Toothbrush Holders
According to the NSF, the third-dirtiest spot in the home is your toothbrush holder. More than 25% of them contained coliform and 14% contained Staphylococcus aureus (staph).
To disinfect your toothbrush holder, immerse it in equal parts water and white vinegar for 1-2 minutes. Using an old toothbrush, scrub off dirt and debris. Rinse under hot water and allow it to dry. If your toothbrush holder is dishwasher-safe, you can also run it through a cycle (along with your toothbrushes) every week.
Pro tip: Keep toothbrushes in dry, open-air containers that are as far from the toilet and sink areas as possible.
3. Bath Toys
Ever squeezed out a child’s bath toy to discover that it’s full of gunk? That’s mold and bacteria. As plastic bath toys sit in water, they release carbon that promotes the growth of microbes and biofilm. That’s not even including microorganisms from the human body.
Because young children tend to put things in their mouths, they’re possibly ingesting some of those elements when they’re supposed to be squeaky-clean!
How to Clean Bath Toys
To clean bath toys, “dishwasher-safe” ones can be run through the dishwasher on the top rack. Others can be cleaned by hand with a few drops of dish soap, hot water, and a microfiber cloth.
Pro tip: To get into tiny nooks and crannies, we find that an old toothbrush soaked in dish soap and water works best.
The Germiest Places in Your Bedroom
Your bedrooms should be a restful retreat, but your bed is a breeding ground for all kinds of creepy contaminants:
- Dust mite waste: Dust mite droppings are highly-allergenic and found in 80% of homes.
- Bacteria, fungi, and mold: Pillows are especially dirty, carrying Aspergillus fumigatus and other fungi which can trigger asthma and other serious conditions.
- Human sweat: Illnesses like strep and staph can be passed to partners via sweat.
The Best Way to Clean Pillows
There are four easy steps to keeping clean pillows and they include:
- Using a pillow cover underneath your pillowcase.
- Washing your pillow covers and cases at least once a week.
- Switching to latex or memory foam pillows (which are less likely to harbor bacteria and fungi).
- If you don’t use a protective cover and your pillows are machine-washable, washing them at least once a month on a gentle, warm water/low heat cycle with an enzyme-based detergent. To keep the machine balanced, we recommend washing two at a time.
How to Clean Your Mattress
According to one study, the average person spends around 36 years of life in bed. And it’s certainly easier to sleep soundly, knowing you’re not surrounded by dust mites and bacteria.
- The most important step is investing in a protective, waterproof mattress cover that covers the entire mattress.
- If you don’t have a waterproof mattress cover, vacuum your mattress with an upholstery attachment every time you wash your sheets.
- Wash your sheets weekly and your mattress protector at least once a month.
- Spot clean your mattress using Puracy Stain Remover, following the directions on the bottle.
- Vacuum once more, then replace your mattress cover and linens.
Pro tip: Every mattress is different, so it’s best to check with your manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning.
The Dirtiest Spots in Your Living Room
Aside from electronics (more on that below), the living room surfaces that harbor the most bacteria are carpets and upholstery. These soft surfaces quickly collect microbes from outside your home, thanks to shoes and clothing, pet dander, skin cells, and food crumbs. A bit of weekly maintenance can dramatically curb the growth of bacteria.
How to Clean Carpet & Upholstery
Carpets should be vacuumed weekly and spot-treated as needed with Puracy Natural Stain Remover, which uses powerful, plant-based enzymes to remove elements like:
- Pet accidents
After spot-treating, you can follow-up with Puracy Natural Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo to freshen fabrics while removing dirt and grime.
Pro tip: We recommend using a steam cleaner to eliminate odors, residues, and bacteria at least once per year.
Your Electronics Are Crawling in Bacteria
Our cell phones have essentially become an extension of our hands – and they carry all the germs to match: Researchers at The University of Arizona, found cell phones to be 10x dirtier than the average toilet seat.
Your cell phone might be carrying:
- E. coli
Think about it: 66% of Americans check their phones 160 times a day. Do you wash your hands every time you pick it up?
How to Clean Your Cell Phone
Microfiber is ideal for screens and electronics because it won’t scratch surfaces or leave lint and fibers behind. Try this DIY cell phone germ killer:
- Make a solution of equal parts isopropyl alcohol and distilled water.
- Dab or spray the solution onto an edgeless microfiber towel until it’s slightly damp.
- Wipe the towel across all of the surfaces of your phone without saturating it.
- Using a dry microfiber towel, wipe down your phone again, soaking up any beads of moisture that remain.
You can use this method for remote controls and gaming controllers, too. Disinfect these items once a day (or more often if you believe you were exposed to illness-causing microbes).
Puracy Products: Clean Gently and Effectively
To prevent the spread of germs throughout your home, fill it with Puracy cleaning essentials. We’ve made it simple to get rid of life’s messes and kill more than 99.9+% of bacteria, mold, and viruses – what could be easier?