Germs

Germs are microscopic organisms that can make you sick if they get into your body. Some germs found inside the home may make you sick with a cold, flu, salmonella, or other illnesses.
Germs are microscopic organisms that can make you sick if they get into your body. Some germs found inside the home may make you sick with a cold, flu, salmonella, or other illnesses.

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
  • Refrigerators
  • Countertops
  • 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.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/9/2021
References
SOURCES:

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."