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Germs lurk in the most unlikely of places, so knowing where to clean can help.

As we go about our daily routines, we tidy up, switch off lights and go grocery shopping; but do we ever stop to think where germs lurk and our exposure to them. From shopping trolleys to the kitchen sink, we come into contact (and spread) those germs  hiding in places you may or may not expect to find them.

In the kitchen

Probably the germiest suspects in your kitchen are your sponge and dishcloths. You use your sponge to wipe your counter after preparing food, this goes in the sink and is used to clean the dishes. Or your dishcloth, which has just mopped up a spill, gets used to dry dishes. These items get damp, breed germs, and spread them to every surface they touch. The solution: use the sponge for dishes, dishcloths for drying, and paper towels for cleaning counters. Disinfect them often by zapping them in the microwave for a few minutes, or placing them in the dishwasher for a cycle.

Other germ-breeding spots in the kitchen include the kitchen sink and taps – wipe these down often with something strong like bleach. Your salt, pepper and spice bottles can also harbour germs, as people may reach for the spice bottle after handling raw meat, so give these a wipe.

In the carpets

Carpets love to host germs and attract allergens, which can jeopardise your family’s health. Prevent illness by cleaning your carpets regularly. Not only will regular cleaning reduce the risk of household illness, it will also prolong the life of your carpets.

In the bathroom

Towels are your prime suspect for germs in the bathroom. They’re damp and everyone uses the hand towel, making them an ideal breeding environment. Change them frequently and wash your towels often. Another way germs spread in bathrooms is by flushing the toilet, which spreads tiny droplets of toilet water over the walls, floor and well, anything nearby (like toothbrushes). Encourage everyone to close the toilet when flushing.

On trolleys

Germs lurk in abundance on shopping trolleys. Just think how many people use a trolley in one day; how many children sit in that trolley – after going to the toilet; how many people cough or sneeze on that trolley. Protect yourself by wiping down the handle, and anywhere else you’re likely to touch. Most shops provide sanitising wipes, but it’s always handy to carry your own. For small children, you can also invest in a trolley seat cover.

On bags

The bottom of your handbag, your laptop bag, and even your child’s school bag comes into contact with countless germs every time it’s placed on the floor. This is, for the most part, unavoidable, but you can take precautions – don’t put bags on the floor in public bathrooms, and don’t put them on the kitchen counter, or anywhere else you have food.

On handles and switches

You can expect to find germs on handles and switches of any sort, after all, everyone uses them. We touch door and fridge handles, stove knobs, light switches and plug switches all the time. But how often do they get cleaned? Wipe them down frequently with a disinfectant solution.

On your electronics

Cellphones go everywhere with you, which means they come into contact with the same germs you do. Remotes are used by everyone in the family, and probably aren’t cleaned all that often. Chargers, computer keyboards, telephones and all of the other handheld electronics in our lives are constantly being touched. Try cleaning with a damp (not wet) sanitising wipe, or look out for electronic wipes that are safe to use on these devices.

Tamlyn Vincent