Here are the germiest places in your house, and they’re not the ones you think

Today we have a wide range of bactericidal cleaning products, bleaches and antiseptics that help us disinfect the most frequently used surfaces in the home, such as the kitchen or bathroom. But regardless of the frequency of cleaning or the cleaning products used, germs remain.

This is what Paul Dawson showed in an experiment carried out for CNN and shared as a video. Paul Dawson is a food science researcher at Clemson University, South Carolina, USA, where he studies ways to improve food safety and quality. To determine which areas of the home are most likely to accumulate germs, Dawson analyzed five different homes owned by CNN employees.

The samples were treated anonymously to avoid any bias in the experiment and were collected repeatedly over four days, immediately after being cleaned in the usual way. The areas tested were the same in all homes: the sink drain, the kitchen counter, the toilet seat, the bathroom faucet handle and the floor at the entrance to the home.

The entrance to the house, the dirtiest place

Once in the lab, the scientists isolated the bacteria they found and grew them into colonies so they could be observed with the naked eye. “It’s really disgusting,” laughs CNN editor Clare Duffy, looking at the Petri dish in which the bacteria taken from her front door grew.

Good surface hygiene is more than enough to reassure us

If we’re concerned about bacteria buildup at the front door, Dawson recommends using a doormat that can be washed frequently. In this way, part of the dirt that we bring from the street will be left at the entrance. Another recommendation would be to leave slippers from the street on a piece of furniture near the front door and to wear clean slippers in the house so as not to contaminate it.

The most surprising thing about this experiment is that the toilet seat is the cleanest of all the items tested. This means that the areas of the kitchen where we prepare our food are dirtier than the toilets. The scientist recommends disinfecting the sink and countertop with bleach at least once a month and changing dishwashers frequently. At the same time, it calls for calm, because many household bacteria are beneficial or harmless.