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The 4 Dirtiest Things in Your House

By Krista Elliott

Some people are pretty comfortable with germs. The baby could be licking every doorknob in the house, and the parent will just shrug and say, "Well, he'll develop a strong immune system from it!" Other people get a little bit freaked out about these things, like someone I know who would not let her sister borrow her sunglasses because she said she didn't want the skin cells and oils on her face to get on them. 

The funny thing is that a lot of people who get really worried about germs tend to focus their concern in the wrong direction. They'll get hung up about the toilet seat while blithely ignoring the germs festering on their light switches. 

So, to educate the germ-indifferent and completely freak out the germ-concerned, here are four items in your home that are way, way dirtier than your toilet seat:

Your Pet's Dish - If you have a pet, raise your hand. Now, if you wash out your pet's bowls with soap and hot water after every meal, keep your hand up. No, I can't see you, but I'm guessing that a lot of you no longer have your hand up. We wash our own dishes after every meal, but often neglect to wash Rover's, especially if he eats dry food that doesn't produce visible gunk in the bowl. But, that bowl can have up to 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. 

Your Laundry - This one shocked me. Did you know that a load of skivvies will deposit at least 100 million E. coli bacteria to your washing machine? And that because of the machine's moist environment, those bacteria breed and are spread to your other laundry? Evidently this is why you should run an empty load with some bleach through the machine every so often.

Your Rug/Carpet - Walk around the house barefoot? Most of us do, especially in the warmer months. But between dead skin cells, food crumbs, pet dander, and other bits and bobs, your rug is an all-you-can-eat buffet for bacteria. How much? Try about 200,000 per square inch (as opposed to almost 300 per square inch on your toilet seat). Yeah, that's gross. And the fun part? They live down in the roots of the carpet where the vacuum doesn't reach. Time to book a deep cleaning, I guess. 

Your Handbag - You already know that your cell phone is teeming with bacteria, right? Well, what about the bag you store it (and your wallet, and makeup, and other detritus) in? It's not much better. Whether we're transferring germs to the handle of the bag off of our grimy little hands or never wiping off that tube of hand cream that we keep shoving back into the deepest recesses of our tote, our handbags are nothing more than an extremely fetching petri dish. 

So now that you're nice and grossed out, maybe it's time to go and clean some of these long-neglected items. And hey, might as well clean the toilet seat while you're at it. 

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