It shouldn’t come as a surprise that your home is one of the dirtiest places you come into contact with on a daily basis. Your bed sheets, towels, mattress, and kitchen sponge are all swarming with microbes. Most of these are harmless, but sometimes disease-causing germs — such as viruses and bacteria — can sneak onto your skin or into your mouth, eyes, or nose and make you sick.
Your kitchen is one of the biggest sources of these germs. In fact, many cases of food poisoning in the US are from cross-contamination of germs during food prep.
Here is a ranking of some of the dirtiest objects in your kitchen, based on a study that sampled three types of bacteria from kitchen objects in 10 homes in 2006.
While this report found that dish towels contained the most bacteria, microbiologist Philip Tierno has told us that sponges are actually the dirtiest object in the home — given that they’re in regular contact with pathogenic substances such as those from raw poultry, vegetables, and humans. This discrepancy is likely because Tierno has taken more factors into account than just the presence of bacteria.
Julia Calderone contributed to an earlier version of this article.
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