Where Germs Hide in Your House

Most of us are well aware of germs around us. The rules are pretty straightforward, right? Wash your hands, avoid spending time with your sick friends, keep your house clean. But did you know there are millions of germs probably hiding in plain sight in your own house?

You wash dishes and wipe down the counters every day. Your cleaning services vacuum, dust, clean the floors, and clean the bathrooms a few times a month. Where are they hiding? When was the last time you paid attention to the germs on these three surfaces?

Paper Money. It seems to be a commonly-known fact that money has a lot of germs. That makes sense: it passes through a lot of hands, and in the picture on the right, you can see Science News' close up of money--plenty of places for germs to get cozy. You might not realize just how dirty it is, though—scientists found that the flu virus can live on money for up to 17 days. Yikes! 

There's no good way to disinfect money, so your best bet is to put it into a personal quarantine. Keep it in the same place (like your wallet or a jar at home), and of course, wash your hands after you've been handling cash. 

Remote Controls. Most people don't think to clean their remote control very often, but it picks up a lot of germs. Just like money, it passes through a lot of hands. Unlike money, you might also eat or drink over your remote, and those crumbs can get down into the crevices and invite more bacteria to the series premiere. 

Once a day (or at least once a week), take a disinfectant wipe or a rag damp with vinegar and water and wipe the remote down. Make sure you hit the space between the buttons, too!

Sponges. Sponges are the worst offenders by far. For a tool that's supposed to help you keep clean, they do a great job of being a germ factory. Moisture plus dirt and food from the things you clean make a perfect home for bacteria.

Thankfully, the fix to this is extremely simple. Once a day, put your sponge in the dishwasher with a load of dishes. If you don't have a dishwasher, wet the sponge, ring it out, and microwave it for two minutes.

No more hiding for these germs!