From Our 2007 Archives
Top Spots for Bacteria at Home
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More Bacteria in the Bathtub Than in the Garbage Bin, Study Shows
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
June 25, 2007 -- Your home may be germier than you think, new research shows.
Out of 32 places in the home, the top spots for bacteria are the toilet bowl, kitchen drain, kitchen sponge or counter-wiping cloth, bathtub, and kitchen sink., according to a new study.
But only 3% of Americans think they're more likely to pick up germs from their bathtub than from their garbage bins, a new survey shows.
The telephone survey included more than 10,000 people worldwide, including about 1,000 people in the U.S.
In the survey, few U.S. participants -- 5% -- answered "in the home" when they were asked where they thought children are most likely to catch infection.
While infections can happen anywhere, the home has plenty of places were bacteria roost, according to the report.
Top Spots for Bacteria
The study and survey come from the Hygiene Council -- which is funded by Reckitt Benckiser, the company that makes Lysol.
Researchers visited 35 U.S. homes, swabbing for bacteria in 32 locations in each home.
Here's how those spots ranked, in terms of the average number of bacteria per square inch. Spots with the same average number of bacteria have the same rank.
The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren't available.
The FDA recommends mixing 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach into 1 quart of water for a homemade sanitizing solution -- or using a commercial sanitizer -- to help keep kitchen surfaces clean.
SOURCES: News release, the Hygiene Council. CDC: "Clean Hands Save Lives!" FDA: "Can Your Kitchen Pass the Food Safety Test?"
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