How clean is YOUR home? Discover the dirtiest type of floor and where bacteria hides!

Over the course of the pandemic, it’s fair to say that some of us have become more aware of the plethora of bacteria and germs that we are regularly exposed to.

However, not all of us know where these pathogens linger the most. Often, it’s areas like the toilet or the sink that gets a bad reputation for being the germiest place, but a new study from Currys PC World, in collaboration with microbiologist Dr Jonathan Hughes, found that this isn’t actually the case.

Together, they put homes under the microscope to reveal where germs and bacteria are the most densely populated in your home. 

The germiest place in your home 

Germs and bacteria can be found on every surface of your home, from door handles and remote controls to sinks and countertops. However, the place where germs are most likely to be found is actually your floor. The researchers discovered that 100% of the floors tested were positive for Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P.aeruginosa) and 10% were positive for Faecal streptococci (FS). 

P.aeruginosais known as an opportunistic pathogen commonly found in soil, water and plants, which you can traipse into the house on the soles of your shoes. It can cause disease in a variety of hosts such as humans, plants and animals. That said, there needs to be a very high concentration of bacteria present to cause an infection, and you can prevent this by carefully washing fruits and vegetables before consuming them.

FS,on the other hand, is commonly found in the intestines of animals and humans, so when traces of this are present in the home, it usually indicates that people haven’t been maintaining proper bathroom hygiene habits. Washing your hands thoroughly after each bathroom use can help prevent FS from spreading around your home.

Levels of bacteria on different types of flooring

Speaking of the urban-myth of the five-second rule, a study conducted by Aston University found that not only is timing a significant factor in the transfer of bacteria from your floor to your dropped food item, but so is the type of flooring.

Bacteria is less likely to transfer from carpet to food, compared to less porous surfaces like laminate and tile. Even so, the respondents who took part in the research felt that carpeted floors need cleaning the most, with 16% stating that they vacuum their carpeted floors every day, whereas only 12% feel the need to clean laminate floors as regularly.  

But how often should we be washing our floors to keep bad bacteria at bay? Should we be immediately looking at cleaning services Houston or similar near us? Dr Johnathan Hughes advises that “ideally, you should clean your floors once a week to ensure good hygiene and keep bacterial populations under control. In the event something happens that is likely to contaminate the floor – such as dropping raw foods or if a pet has an accident – then you should clean and disinfect the area immediately”.

The germiest item in your home 

Germs and bacteria can thrive on damp surfaces which is why your sponge is a hot spot for all sorts of nasty pathogens. A US study found that 67% of the tested sponges were positive for Escherichia coli and fecal coliforms. Another study discovered that that 15.4% of sponge samples taken from households were contaminated with Salmonella.

Due to the nature (and purpose) of the sponge, bacteria can be transferred from hands, cutlery and other objects. To prevent this spread, make sure to wring out sponges and clothes properly to reduce as much moisture as possible. Don’t forget to replace your sponge every week or two to keep the germs at bay.

Knowing where bacteria and germs linger in your home is the first step to keeping the bacteria populations at a low (and safe) level in 2022. And, by incorporating a thorough cleaning routine that you can easily maintain, you can prevent bacteria from spreading and help keep you and your family safe all year round.

Photo by James Forbes