The Secret Life of Germs: How to Find and Clean the Dirtiest Parts of an Apartment

While you may think you know who’s living in your home, the truth is that there may be thousands or even millions of unwelcome guests just lurking in the dirtiest parts of an apartment in the form of bacteria and other germs. This doesn’t mean you’re unclean, and in fact, your apartment may appear on the surface to be very clean. It just means that germs will find any means they can to survive just like all other living things. It’s simply nature’s way.

The problem is that germs can make us sick even if we can’t see them. Here we’ll tell you about some of the dirtiest parts of an apartment where germs and bacteria are most likely to be found, as well as give you some tips on how to rid your home of these unwelcome guests. But first, let’s talk a bit about what germs actually are.

Germs vs. Bacteria

There are four main types of germs that may exist in your home, and bacteria is just one type. The others are viruses, fungi, and protozoa. While the broader term “germs” implies something that is bad or harmful, bacteria can be harmful or good. Bacteria are tiny, one-celled organisms that feed on what’s in their environments in order to survive. In fact, they often live inside the human body. When cleaning your apartment, you want to rid it of germs and harmful bacteria found on surfaces that might otherwise appear to be clean.

1.) Dish Cloths and Sponges

We wanted to start out with kitchen sponges and dish cloths not only because they tend to be overlooked, but because this section may affect the tools used for the other areas mentioned in this blog. Kitchen sponges and dish cloths often have their own little ecosystems. According to research, they can have six times as much bacteria as toilet handles and may even harbor deadly E.coli and salmonella. As alternatives to dish cloths and sponges, some experts recommend using brushes to clean dishes, sinks and countertops in the kitchen. Why? Brushes keep your hands out of the sink water and off kitchen surfaces that may contain bacteria. Buy a brush that is plastic that can be washed in the dishwasher. Other alternatives include using disposable paper towels and wipes or washable, bacteria-resistant cloths. If you decide to still use sponges, throw them out weekly or clean them every few days in bleach.

2.) Kitchen Countertops and Sinks

More than 75 million cases of food-related illness occur annually in the U.S., with many of these cases originating from harmful bacteria in home kitchens. According to experts, the key to limiting exposure to bacteria in the kitchen is to clean up and disinfect immediately after a spill or after using your countertops and sinks for food preparation. That’s because harmful bacteria can live on surfaces for days. First clean the surfaces with warm soapy water. Then the Centers for Disease Control recommends disinfecting countertops and sinks with a store-bought kitchen disinfectant spray or with an easy bleach solution that you can inexpensively make yourself at home. Just combine a quarter cup of unscented household bleach with about 2-1/4-cups of water. For convenience, you can keep this solution handy by storing it in an inexpensive plastic spray bottle. Since moisture can promote mold and fungus, wipe the surfaces dry with a paper towel or cloth made of fast-drying material like 100% cotton.

3.) Kitchen and Bathroom Floors

As with kitchen countertops and sinks, the sooner you clean up spills on hard kitchen and bathroom floors, the better. For regular cleaning, we recommend that you mop the kitchen and bathroom floor at least every two weeks, but you may need to do this more often depending on how big your household size is and how fast your floors get dirty. To disinfect the floors, you can use a bleach solution by combining a cup of household bleach with a gallon of warm water. Then wipe or mop the floors down with plain warm water and then air dry. Use a fan to promote faster drying. It’s also important to use separate mops or sponges for cleaning the bathroom and kitchen floors so you’re not spreading germs from one room to the other.

4.) Bathroom Countertops and Surfaces

While it’s best to regularly deep clean and disinfect bathroom surfaces like floors, countertops, showers, tubs and sinks, you should spot clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often more frequently. These include faucet toilet handles and seats, and even doorknobs. Just as with the kitchen, a homemade solution of bleach and water can be very effective at killing germs in the bathroom. Use sponges which you can easily discard or brushes that are dedicated to bathroom cleaning only. And wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. If you don’t like using chlorine bleach, consider oxygen bleach with hydrogen peroxide as its main active ingredient. This is just as effective as chlorine bleach but is non-toxic and odorless.

5.) Carpets

Carpet fibers can not only hide dirt, but they can be ideal living environments for germs and allergens like dust mites and even mold spores in damp or wet spots. That’s why it’s important to vacuum your carpets on a regular basis. Also, wipe up spills and dry the affected carpet area quickly. If you have pets, small children, or just get your carpets dirty often, consider regularly using a spray disinfectant and then steam cleaning your carpets on occasion.

Can You Now Locate the Germiest and Dirtiest Parts of an Apartment?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our blog and found some helpful tips for keeping your apartment clean and germ-free. Located in the beautiful mountains of Charlottesville, VA, Beacon on 5th Apartment Homes offers residents the ultimate luxury and convenience. You can choose from our studio, one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom luxury apartments, all with wonderful closet space. Schedule a tour today with one of our leasing professionals to start living your dreams at Beacon on 5th!