Health

7 Dirtiest Places in Indian Homes

Neetu Ralhan
All age groups

Created by Neetu Ralhan
Updated on Dec 14, 2012

7 Dirtiest Places in Indian Homes

Mum, you just served me about a billion microbes!!!

No, you won’t hear your child say this. At least not until they are 10 or older, when they have attended a biology class about microorganisms, or probably seen a science show on the Discovery channel. Which means we may be inadvertently serving our children a regular supply of disease causing microbes, without either party ever discovering it for a very long time.

“Germs are everywhere and excessive hygiene may only make my child over-sensitive to infection”, you may argue. In fact, experts do agree that some exposure to germs helps build immunity, however harmful microbes can cause food poisoning, diarrhea  and a host of other infections. Though we can postpone cleaning the nooks and crannies until the next big festival, it’s the more common areas of everyday access that need our immediate attention. 

 

No, it’s not the toilet seat!

A clean washroom is a homeowner’s pride. Since it is regularly cleaned with disinfectants, the toilet seat is among the cleanest places in your home, harboring about 50 bacteria per square inch. In fact we like our toilet seats so clean that microbiologists now use them as the gold standard in cleanliness.

Let’s find out which are the places that surpass this new standard of microscopic hygiene. 

 

The Kitchen Sponge

Studies by microbiologists have found that the kitchen sponge (the utensil scrub pad as we know it) is 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. With about 10 million bacteria per square inch, the scrub pad is possibly one of the dirtiest objects in our homes. Bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli thrive on the cleaning tools from where they are transferred to utensils, eventually leading to contamination of food.

What you can do

  1. Avoid leaving food particles on the scrub pad or in the dishwashing soap dish.
  2. Rinse dishes with water to remove left over food before cleaning.
  3. Washing the scrub pad thoroughly with soap and water (preferably warm water) every day also helps. 
  4. Cleaning the kitchen sink with a mild soap solution every day helps to eliminate bacteria. 
  5. Researchers have found that microwaving damp sponges and scrub pads for 2 minutes can kill up to 99% of pathogens. Using a fresh, dry wipe cloth every day is advisable, and lastly, remember to replace your cleaning devices regularly.

 

Leak-proof Containers and Tiffin Boxes

The plastic containers with 4-sided locking ensure that your food stays fresh and does not spill. The silicone seal inside the lid is what makes these boxes spill-proof. Take a knife and remove this seal and you might just discover a cocktail of food particles from last week’s meals waiting to be washed away. And if the muck managed to escape your cleaning lady’s sharp eye, it would have turned into a greenish black layer of microbe-infested grime by now. Enough to make a healthy person fall sick! Same goes for the insides of bottle caps.

What You Can Do

  1. In transparent boxes, you can easily check for dirt or food stuck in the area between the seal and the lid. 
  2. In others, it’s best to remove the seal and check. Sounds like an extra load of work? The seals need not be removed and cleaned after every use, especially if you used the tiffin to pack dry lunch such as a sandwich. 

If you served curry or semi-liquid food, the lid might need thorough cleaning.

 

Used Aluminum Foil

You may have noticed how an aluminum foil in which you wrapped warm food turns damp. Dampness is the breeding ground of disease causing microbes. Therefore, avoid using the aluminum foil again or you may run the risk of passing bacteria lurking on the foil onto the next food item.

What you can do

  1. Use cloth napkins at home. Washing the foil in a solution of soap and water, patting it dry makes it ready to be used again.

Other uses

  1. Folding the used foil into 5-6 layers and cutting through it helps sharpen blunt scissors. You can use also use it to scrub clean your gas stove and other grimy surfaces.

 

Chopping boards and knives 

Most people simply rinse the cutting board, the knives and peelers unless they look really dirty. Food particles left on these items harbor bacteria and viruses that are a major cause of food-related illness.

What you can do

  1. Make sure that chopping equipment is washed with soap after every use, specifically after preparing/ chopping of uncooked meat products.
  2. It’s good to check for grime deposits at the joint where the blade meets the handle.
  3. An easy way to clean knives and peelers is to dip them in a soap solution prepared with hot water and leaving them for a minute or two and then finally washing them with fresh water.


The Feeding Chair

If not cleaned regularly, children’s feeding chairs or places where they eat regularly can have the worst levels of bacteria. Studies have found that high chairs in restaurants are highly contaminated due to food spills by toddlers. Since little children are still developing immunity to common infections, it is very important to thoroughly clean and disinfect their eating and playing spaces. 

What You Can Do

  1. Have your child’s feeding chair and/or table cleaned after every meal.
  2. To avoid microbial growth, making sure any food droppings are removed is beneficial in the long run.


The Remote Control
Our children use the remote control every single day. They fight for it, spill over it, sneeze on it and some even scratch their heads with it. Researchers have found that the television remote is one of the most contaminated objects in a household, carrying infection causing pathogens that are invariably transferred to every user.

What you can do

  1. Dabbing a few drops of disinfectant liquid or hand sanitizer onto a damp cloth or tissue and wiping the remote, the cell phone and any other gadgets that you or the kids touch frequently can help remove harmful microbes.

 

The Good News!

Experts say that we have evolved so much over the past 2 million years that we have become accustomed to a peaceful co-existence with most micro-organisms.

Since we can never eradicate microbes completely, it is wise not to get obsessive about it. Germs are present everywhere and it is perhaps a good thing that they are invisible to the naked eye. Most are harmless; we only need to keep an eye on places where the harmful ones can thrive!

 

Image source - www.inkity.com

  • 12
Comments()
Kindly Login or Register to post a comment.

| Jan 09, 2014

Very Informative Blog. From nowonwards i'l b more cautious. Thanks

  • Report

| Dec 17, 2013

:)

  • Report

| Dec 17, 2013

Thanks Neetu for such a useful information. The knife part is true, we generally ignore the knives most and also the remote. will take care of the same.

  • Report

| Dec 16, 2013

Thank you Kamala. My son is 12 and even then I have to keep reminding him to move the remote away from his face... :)

  • Report

| Dec 16, 2013

Excellent write up. Thanks alot for the information. Esp. television Remote as described. My 1 yr old always keeps remote in his mouth. Will make sure to clean it regularly.

  • Report

| Jan 30, 2013

Some more places to be cleaned frequently include: Door Handles, car steering wheels, computer keyboard and mouse, and most stationery items.

  • Report

| Dec 14, 2012

Hi Sujana, absolutely agree with the mixer cleaning bit. The water turns surprisingly dirty. Another thing that bothers me is how we tend to not thoroughly clean the sandwich makers and the toasters, plus, electric appliances can be cleaned only so much. I try my best and am still learning, while also trying not to get obsessive about it :)

  • Report

| Dec 14, 2012

Hey Praveen! Glad that you liked what you read. Its interesting how we tend to stop noticing the small dirty spaces and focus on overall cleaning instead. I myself was ignorant for a very long time :)

  • Report

| Dec 14, 2012

useful info Neetu... As you said the first thing which comes into mind is the toilet when we talk about the cleanliness. When we go next, there are many places which gives a big shelter to these bacteria. things like toys especially soft toys, tooth brush stand, the shoe rack. As per my notice the washers of mixer jars are gr8 places for them. I really bend hard to clean up these rubber washers. I was educated by a mechanic when I take my mixer jar to him for some problem. He explained me how a jar can contaminate the food and how dangerous it is. After every use one should clean the jar by loading it with some warm water for about 1/2 a minute(at least with cold water when u r in hurry), and I was shocked to see the color of water, 'coz my jar was neatly cleaned and sun dries well. After trying it at home, I never stopped following the cleaning process even in my hectic times. Thanks for the useful info Neetu.

  • Report

| Dec 14, 2012

Nice one! The places where we actually think most germs survive and the cleanest-our toilets. Even things like the cloth or paper bags in which we bring our groceries home in, are full of germs! Reading this article makes me want to go and scrub the sink and then throw the sponge into the bin! Great blog Neetu. We need to create awareness of this kind.

  • Report

| Dec 14, 2012

That a good piece of information neetu.. True that we know in certain areas where we can find these microbes and pathogens few of them are generally unknown and ignored.. thanks for the info...

  • Report

| Dec 14, 2012

thanks a ton for this neetu... to be honest - am actually enlightened. and also noticed, that after reading, I would also stop flaunting my ignorance. :-)

  • Report
+ Start A Blog
Top Health Blogs
Loading
{{trans('web/app_labels.text_Heading')}}

{{trans('web/app_labels.text_some_custom_error')}}

{{trans('web/app_labels.text_Heading')}}

{{trans('web/app_labels.text_some_custom_error')}}