ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

Sponsored By: Two Men and a Truck
cloudy-day
96°
Sct Thunderstorms
H 95° L 79°
  • cloudy-day
    96°
    Current Conditions
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 95° L 79°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    80°
    Morning
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 95° L 79°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    91°
    Afternoon
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 91° L 79°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Health
The germiest places you're not cleaning
Close

The germiest places you're not cleaning

The germiest places you're not cleaning

The germiest places you're not cleaning

People avoid touching the obviously dirty things — toilet bowls, garbage cans, anything in a public restroom. But for every well-known nasty, there are a host of under-the-radar threats we put in our mouths, roll around on all night, and regularly rub on our faces. In an effort to keep clean, happy, and healthy, here are 21 surprisingly dirty things and what to do about them.

KITCHEN

Sponges

It's easy for bacteria and food particles to get trapped in the crevasses of sponges, creating ideal conditions for bacteria to breed [1]. Moist, dark — what else could bacteria ask for?!

What to do: Try antibacterial sponges and dish soaps to limit the lesser of bacteria evils — but neither are very effective at controlling the spread of big name baddies like E. Coli and Salmonella [2]. Be extra safe by disinfecting sponges at least once a week by soaking in a bleach solution for 5 minutes, or microwaving on high for two minutes. (The microwave method has even been shown to kill 99 percent of bacteria[3]!)

Kitchen Buttons, Knobs, and Handles

Taking something from the fridge, grabbing spices from the cabinet, preheating the oven, zapping something in the microwave — a lot goes into cooking a meal, including any bacteria from that raw chicken or unwashed produce.

What to do: To minimize the risk, some experts recommend using a disinfectant on any frequently used kitchen surfaces several times a day, especially before and after preparing a meal. Keep it carefree by keeping antibacterial wipes right on the counter for easy access.

 Cutting Boards

With all the ingredients flying around that kitchen, it's hard to keep designated cutting boards for each type of food. (Fresh veggies tossed on a board right after a raw steak probably isn't such a good idea). But this hotbed for cross-contamination is essential to keep clean. Scientists debate whether wood or plastic makes for a better board: Plastic boards seem safer and easier to clean (because they're not porous), but once they're scored from repeated slicing, it's hard to clean the microscopic grooves [4]. Wood sucks bacteria down into its core, but researchers disagree about whether bacteria ever resurface; one study noted that heavily used wooden boards were more problematic than new ones.

What to do: Keep plastic boards clean by regularly running through the dishwasher (or washing with near-boiling water if the dishwasher isn't an option). Consider microwaving wooden ones to get the bad guys out. (But be careful — some folks have managed to catch their cutting boards on fire.) Let both boards air-dry completely before storing to minimize potential bacteria growth. But since the research is really mixed, just be sure to replace heavily nicked boards regularly.

Drip Coffee Maker

Even though coffee itself has some antimicrobial properties, coffee makers still need to be cleaned [5] [6]. Most home coffee makers don’t get hot enough to kill anything growing in the wet, dark environment of the water reservoir or the machine’s internal piping.

What to do: Running a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar through the machine once a month may help inhibit the growth of mold and some bacteria. Let half the mixture run through the machine, then switch it off for an hour before finishing the cycle. And don’t forget to deep-clean the carafe!

BEDROOM

 Pillows

Pillows aren’t just packed with feathers — turns out they can also be home to several types of allergy-inflaming fungi [7]. (Ick.) And all those hours spent sweating, shedding skin, and drooling like a sheepdog also create ideal conditions for dust mites, another potential allergy trigger.

What to do: In addition to regularly laundering bedding (specific instructions below), anti-allergen covers can help protect pillows from outside germs getting in and keep the sneezy stuff (down, anyone?) inside [8].

Sheets

Take all the reasons to be worried about pillows and add sweat to the tune of up to one liter per night.

What to do: Washing and drying everything on the highest heat available is a good policy, but regular bleaching is a good idea, too. (In fact, studies suggest a good hot wash and dose of bleach will not only kill bacteria on the cloth, but also cleans out the machine so germs aren't continuously spread around [9].)

BATHROOM

 Bath Mat

Bath mats sit there, soaked with shower water and pressed up against the floor, slowing evaporation and providing the dark, damp environment mold and bacteria love. Add to that the fact bathroom floors have been shown be one of the most contaminated parts of the bathroom (toilet bowl excluded, of course) and it’s obvious why we should put some brainpower towards that bath mat [10].

What to do: Launder mats once per week on the highest heat and with bleach (if possible — defer to the mat’s washing instructions, especially if it has rubber backing). And (clearly) keep separate from any bedding or clothes. Wooden mats may be an easier option, since surface disinfectants can replace regular laundering, but it’s important to remember to disinfect the floor to avoid re-infecting a clean mat.

Laundry Basket

All the grime from sweaty workout gear, underwear, and bedding sits in that laundry bag, soiling the hamper itself.

What to do: Try using one bag for dirty clothes, and one for the clean stuff, and wash the dirty bag along with the clothes! For hard plastic hampers, use any hard surface disinfectant, but be wary of anything with the potential to discolor (i.e. bleach).

Makeup and Makeup Brushes

People shouldn’t get diseases from getting dolled up, but cosmetics have been known to do just that [11]! Eye makeup seems to be the greatest cause for concern; one study found that within just three months of use, 40 percent of tested mascara tubes had some creepy crawlies growing in them [12] [13].

What to do: A good rule of thumb is to replace eye makeup every season; toss lotions and liquid foundation every six months; and get fresh power-based products, lipstick, and nail polish every two years.

 Toothbrushes

Studies have found that flushing the toilet can spew bathroom-related bacteria into the air [14] [15]. (Ick!) Needless to say, it's a good idea to store that toothbrush far away from the potential contaminants (and close that lid before flushing!).

What to do: The ADA suggests making sure to rinse toothbrushes thoroughly after use, allow them to dry completely, and replace every three to four months. And while they don't deem sanitizing necessary, they do discourage sharing toothbrushes. That said, for those who were recently sick (or are sickened by the thought of germs) rinsing in a milk bleach solution is am effective disinfectant, as is running toothbrushes through the dishwasher [16]. And while it may seem that antibacterial mouth rinses (like Listerine) could be a good alternative to bleach, one study found that it was only about as effective as allowing the brush to air dry, although there are other brands (specifically Crest-Pro Health) which worked better [17].

Towels

We shower to get clean, so it’d be silly to get dirty drying off. But reusing damp bath towels could be doing just that! Drying down after the shower doesn't just get rid of the excess water — it takes with it deadskin cells and bacteria, too (including the dreaded staph infection).

What to do: The risks are low if towels are changed out about once a week and are allowed to dry completely between uses. Whileantimicrobial towels do exist, their efficacy and necessity are debatable — they could help cut down on smells, but that seems to make it easier to forget about cleaning them.

Contact Lenses

One study found that more than 80 percent of tested contact lens cases were contaminated with bacteria, regardless of the system used to clean (no-rub solution or hydrogen peroxide) [18]. (And some suggest inadequate cleaning instructions are to blame! [19])

What to do: Star by wiping out contact lens cases after each use and replace it every month (or at least clean by soaking in near-boiling water for a few minutes). If using a fancy hydrogen peroxide cleansing case, just allow fresh solution to sit in the case for 24 hours before using [20].

ON-THE-GO

Headphones

Those little buds aren’t just at risk from what they pick up in the bottom of that gym bag — using them for just one hour has been shown to coat headphones with bacteria from the ear [21].

What to do: Using water with electronic accessories is tricky, but audiophiles can clean detachable rubber nubbins (technical term) by soaking them for 15 minutes in a vinegar and water solution and letting them sit for 10 more minutes in water before drying. For the un-detachable kind a gentle mixture of soap and water should be used on the plastic exterior, and a clean toothbrush can remove any lint from the grill.

Keys

Anyone who drives — or just plans on returning home at the end of the day — probably has a set in their pocket, but who thinks about keeping keys clean?

What to do: The fact that many keys are made of brass, a copper alloy, offers some protection because it's naturally antibacterial [22] [23] [24]. But occasionally scrubbing keys with plain ol' soap or using a disinfectant probably won’t hurt, and at the very least shining them up offers some aesthetic benefits.

Handbags

A study of office workers found that women's purses were one of top three dirtiest things they touched throughout the day. In fact, one (very small) study found E. Coli on 25 percent of purses tested (out of a 50 purse sample).

What to do: Common sense (don’t rest it on the bathroom floor) and regular cleaning are enough to minimize risk. Wipe leather purses with a disinfectant wipe every few days, and put washable ones through the laundry (or send to the dry cleaner) as often as once per week.

Phone

Studies have repeatedly cited mobile phones as risk factors for infection, and we largely have our own unwashed hands to blame [25] [26] [27]. (One study found fecal bacteria on 1 in 6 phones!)

What to do: The clean up is simple: Power down the device once per week (more during cold and flu season) and wipe with a disinfectant cloth.

For the full list of 21 germiest places you aren't looking, go to Greatist.com.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Now-former Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown has been denied a new trial, after being convicted on 18 of 22 federal fraud-related charges in May. A judge has also issued an order denying a motion for acquittal. Brown’s sentencing has now been set for November 16th. Brown was found guilty of soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars for a sham charity called “One Door For Education”, using the money for personal expenses and lavish events instead. Her Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons and the President of One Door Carla Wiley both pleaded guilty and testified against Brown at trial. Simmons has now been formally adjudicated guilty and his sentencing has been set for November 15th. Wiley was adjudicated shortly after entering her plea in March 2016, but her sentencing has now also been set for November 15th, to take place in the same courtroom at the same time as Simmons. FULL COVERAGE: Federal fraud trial of former Congresswoman Corrine Brown Brown had sought a new trial by claiming the judge improperly dismissed a juror after deliberations had already started, because that juror said at the outset of deliberations that the “Holy Spirit” had told him Brown was innocent. In the initial order dismissing the juror, District Judge Timothy Corrigan had carefully worded his ruling, saying that it would not have violated the jury process to pray for guidance, but to have an influence that prevents the juror from considering only the evidence- like a determination of innocence from a “Holy Spirit”- crosses the line. “Had Juror No. 13 simply stated to his fellow jurors that he was praying for guidance during the deliberations, that would not have been problematic,” Corrigan’s order says. “But that’s not what happened here.” Jurors are instructed only to consider the evidence of the case presented at trial and the court’s instruction on the law in determining a verdict. Some of that instruction included that jurors must discuss the case with one another and only make their verdict determination after considering all of the evidence with the other jurors. During the jury selection process, they also all agreed they had no religious or moral beliefs that would preclude them from serving in a fair and impartial panel.  Corrigan says he believes the juror felt he was obeying the court’s instructions on deliberations, but that he violated it by holding this conviction before deliberations even started. Corrigan further says he would have come to the same determination if the “Holy Spirit” had told Corrigan that Brown was guilty as well. An alternate juror was seated and the panel was instructed to start deliberations from scratch. The verdicts of guilty on 18 counts and not guilty on 22 counts were unanimously reached after about eleven hours of deliberations. “Corrine Brown is entitled to a fair trial with an impartial jury that reaches a verdict in accordance with the law. That is what she received,” Corrigan’s ruling says. Brown’s motion for acquittal said that prosecutors had not shown she had criminal intent, claiming instead that she had poorly managed her finances and office, but never intended to defraud anyone. Corrigan’s ruling detailed some of the evidence laid out by prosecutors and said the jury could reasonably infer guilt from that. Brown’s attorney further contended that the fact that Brown was found not guilty on four of the charges diminished the government’s proof. Corrigan belives that shows the jury carefully deliberated the evidence and merits of each specific charge. “Suffice it to say, there was more than sufficient evidence to justify the jury’s verdict on each count of conviction,” Corrigan’s ruling says. Brown’s attorney James Smith tells us she’s “understandably saddened and disappointed” by the judge’s rulings, but she remains strong and maintains her innocence. She further wants supporters to know that she appreciates their prayers and will continue fighting. While Smith said Brown is planning to pursue “any and all available legal options”, he declined to get in to many specifics on what those avenues include. He says their focus right now is geting her the best sentence possible, and a motion for reconsideration is something they could look at in the future. The US Attorney’s Office declined to comment about the rulings at this time. This is a developing story that will be updated in to the afternoon.
  • The Stone Mountain Memorial Association this week denied a Ku Klux Klan request to burn a cross at the park in Dekalb County, Georgia, citing the trouble at a “pro-white” rally last year. >> Read more trending news Joey Hobbs, a Dublin man with the Sacred Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, wanted to hold a “lighting” ceremony on Oct. 21 with 20 participants, according to the application. This would have been to commemorate the KKK’s 1915 revival, which began with a flaming cross atop Stone Mountain on the evening of Thanksgiving. “We will light our cross and 20 minutes later we will be gone,” wrote Hobbs, who couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday, in an application dated May 26. It wasn’t immediately clear if Hobbs holds a formal position with the group. >> Related: George H.W., George W. Bush condemn ‘racial bigotry’ in Charlottesville statement “We don’t want any of these groups at the park, quite frankly,” John Bankhead, spokesman for the association said Wednesday, referring to white nationalists groups and the KKK. “This is a family-oriented park.”  But since it’s a public park, the association created a permit process to consider each application individually. In a statement, the memorial group, which oversees the park, said it “condemns the beliefs and actions of the Ku Klux Klan and believes the denial of this Public Assembly request is in the best interest of all parties.” >> Related: Trump again blames ‘both sides’ for violence in CharlottesvilleWriting to deny Hobbs, CEO Bill Stephens cited the trouble at the “Rock Stone Mountain” rally of April 23, 2016. The park had to close that day as white power revelers, including KKK members, clashed with counter-protesters. Stephens said an event like Hobbs’ would require public safety resources beyond what park police could provide, and thus, would put guests, employees and public safety workers in danger.  Besides creating a potentially-dangerous scene, the cross-burning would’ve also been an act of intimidation, Bankhead said. >> Related: University of Florida denies request for white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak “I think anybody who knows about cross burning knows why it’s used,” Bankhead said, recalling the KKK’s track record of setting crosses on fire to intimidate African Americans. “We’re just not going to allow that.” Georgia's terroristic threats and acts statute also specifically bars the practice when it’s done with the intent to “terrorize.” The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that states can ban cross-burning, though it warned that the intent to intimidate must be proven in each case. Whatever Hobbs’ intent, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association CEO said the event would violate its ordinances against disruptions to the park and actions that present a “clear and present danger.”
  • Although many monuments to the Confederacy in the Unites States bear his name, image or both, Robert E. Lee was not in favor of Confederate monuments. >> Read more trending news According to documents from the University of Virginia, Lee declined and invitation to join officers at the site of the battle of Gettysburg to mark memorials, saying he “could not add anything material to the information existing on the subject.” “I think it wiser, moreover, not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered,” he said. Related: There are hundreds of Confederate monuments, not just in the South But it does not mean Lee opposed slavery. Lee simply thought it was best not to create monuments to remind the country of a time in which there was nationwide conflict.  Related: At least 109 schools named after Confederate figures, study says In an 1856 letter to his wife, Mary Anna Lee, he said of slavery, “I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things.” Lee died of heart disease in 1870 in Lexington, Virginia, five years after the end of the Civil War.
  • During ESPN’s 28-hour “Fantasy Football Marathon,” which began Monday, the network aired a questionable skit involving a live auction draft, where in one scene black players were sold to bidders -- which were composed of mostly white males. >> Read more trending news The skit garnered a lot of criticism with people pointing out the skit appeared eerily similar to what one would have see during a slave auction.   When asked for his thoughts by retired NFL player Dominique Hamilton, New York Giants player Odell Beckham Jr. replied, “Speechless.” Instead of a typical snake draft, where people will select a player by rounds, an auction draft is based on a budget and bids are taken for certain players. In the skit, the predominantly white audience bids for talented black football players. Many called the scene inappropriate, particularly given the recent race-fueled events in Charlottesville, Virginia.  CNN reported that ESPN released a video of a segment in which New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was up for auction. Brady is white. Some pointed out that white players were also in the segment, and that the skit simply reflected auction drafts that are part of fantasy football. In a statement to USA TODAY, ESPN apologized for the skit, saying, “Auction drafts are a common part of fantasy football, and ESPN’s segments replicated an auction draft with a diverse slate of top professional football players. Without that context, we understand the optics could be portrayed as offensive, and we apologize.” 
  • President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that he is disbanding a pair of White House councils after a receiving a rash of resignations in response to his failure to immediately and forcefully denounce white supremacists in the wake of violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. >> Read more trending news “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the manufacturing council (and) strategy (and) policy forum, I am ending both,” Trump wrote Wednesday in a tweet. “Thank you all!”

The Latest News Videos