Germs are everywhere — including your house. Thankfully, most of them should be harmless to you as long as you don't have a compromised immune system.
Germs are microscopic organisms that can make you sick if they get into your body. They are only visible through a microscope. There are many different types of germs. The four major ones include:
These germs can also infect plants and animals. Not all germs are harmful to the human body. In fact, some types of bacteria are good for your body. You need them to stay healthy. There are bacteria in your intestines that help in absorbing nutrients from food. Scientists use other bacteria to make medications and vaccines.
Germs in your house
Your kitchen is one of the main germ hotspots of your house. You can be exposed to germs by food, kitchen surfaces, and kitchen gadgets. Some of these germs can lead to infections like flu, the common cold, and food-borne illnesses like salmonella.
Most kitchen gadgets and surfaces get contaminated with germs through contact from an infected person. Be sure to clean your hands before handling food or cooking to reduce this risk. You should also disinfect the surfaces in your kitchen regularly. Everyday kitchen gadgets and surfaces that are prone to germ contamination include:
- Cutting boards
- Can opener
- Sponges, dishrags, scrubbers, and towels
- Sink and shower drains
- Appliances (like eggbeaters and blenders)
- Garbage disposals
How to get rid of germs in your house
Regular cleaning of surfaces in your home can also go a long way in preventing infections from germs. While cleaning can help get rid of most disease-causing germs, you may also need to disinfect some surfaces.
Cleaning something may remove dirt, grease, and food residue, but it won’t eliminate disease-causing germs. Disinfecting gets rid of germs. It kills viruses, parasites, and bacteria. Make sure to clean surfaces before disinfecting them, as disinfectants can be ineffective on greasy or dirty surfaces.
Tips to help with cleaning
Here are some tips to help you with household cleaning:
- Clean your surfaces regularly.
- Make sure to clean high-traffic areas after having visitors over.
- Give high-traffic surfaces like light switches, doorknobs, handles, countertops, and tables more attention when cleaning.
- Always clean when surfaces become visibly dirty.
- Use cleaning products relevant to the surface that you are cleaning.
- Always read and follow the instructions on the cleaning products you use.
Tips to help with disinfecting safely
The following are tips to help you disinfect your surfaces safely:
- Always read and follow every instruction on the disinfectant’s label.
- Open your windows or have your fan running to ventilate the house while using disinfectants.
- Try not to overdo it. Use the recommended amount of disinfectant.
- When instructions tell you to dilute the disinfectant with water, ensure the water is at room temperature unless the instructions say otherwise.
- Remember to label any containers that contain diluted disinfectants.
- Use disinfectants away from children and pets and store them where they won't have access to them.
- Avoid mixing different disinfectants.
- Avoid swallowing, breathing, or injecting disinfectants into your body.
- Keep disinfectants from coming into contact with your skin by wearing protective clothing like gloves or goggles, depending on conditions.
- Never use disinfectants for bathing yourself or cleaning your pet or child.
- Take extra care if you or someone around you is asthmatic. Some disinfectants are considered irritants and may trigger an asthma attack.
How to avoid getting sick at home
- Avoid touching your face frequently. This will stop you from spreading germs from other surfaces to your face.
- Wash your hands often using soap and water or a water-based sanitizer to avoid contamination.
- Keep the high-traffic areas and surfaces in your house clean and disinfected.
- Clean out all the areas that preserve moisture and throw away old sponges that might already be contaminated with germs.
- Regularly clean your mobile device screens with disinfectants or alcohol-based products made for electronics.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Cleaning Your Home."
Cornell University: Are the Germs in Your House Making You Sick?
Intermountain Healthcare: "Germiest Places in Your Home Might Surprise You: Learn How to Protect Your Family."
Kids Health: "What Are Germs?"
University of Rochester Medical Center: "In the Kitchen: Prevent the spread of Infection."
Top Can You Get Sick From Germs in Your House Related Articles
Are Viruses Germs?Viruses are germs that can cause diseases in humans, plants, and animals. They have rudimentary genetic material, only a protein shell and a strand of RNA or DNA, depending on the virus type. They cannot reproduce on their own, but they may need a host cell for multiplying (such as the human body).
Hidden Places Where Germs LurkExplore the germiest places you may encounter daily. Bacteria is everywhere. Learn tips to avoid germs and bacteria in public places.
Cold, Flu, & Cough: How to Clean After IllnessThis slideshow gives you a room-by-room look at how and what to disinfect after someone in your family has been sick.
Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
Does Dish Soap Kill Germs?Dish soap can get rid of bacteria and even the viruses such as coronavirus. Dish soap is mainly used to remove grease and food residue off from your dishes. Like hand soap, dish soap does not kill bacteria, but it lifts them off surfaces to be washed away by water.
Infectious Germs: Where Germs Love to HideWhat surfaces in your home or office do germs like bacteria and viruses including COVID-19 use to hide? What's the best way to kill germs on your hands or in your workplace? Learn about germy cell phones, sink sponges, puppy kisses, cash money, keyboards, laptops, office lounges, light switches, and other germ hiding places.
Nasal Allergy ReliefLearn how a combination of medication, preventing allergens, and allergy relief products can reduce allergy symptoms and help you feel better.
Which Plants Are Best for Cleaning the Air?Air-purifying plants are a group of recognized natural house plant varieties used for detoxifying indoor air by the removal of air contaminants and improving air quality for breathing. There are numerous air-purifying plants that are effective in clearing out airborne toxins, dust, and germs that are found in various household products, materials, and furniture.