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Home health: How to avoid germ hot spots in your home

Monday - 1/13/2014, 4:46am  ET

The toothbrush may be a hidden germ spot in your house. (WTOP File)

WASHINGTON - With cold and flu season in full force, many make extra effort to keep homes germ-free. But there are still items that may be overlooked.

There are obvious ones, like dishrags, sponges and pet beds -- but germs have other breeding grounds.

Take, for example, the toothbrush. It's constantly exposed to germs -- first in a mouth and then left to dry in a bathroom, often within range of a flushing toilet. says the best solution is to put it in the dishwasher once a week. The American Dental Association says its enough to rinse a toothbrush thoroughly and store it in an upright position. But all experts agree that toothbrushes should be replaced roughly every three months.

Another breeding ground for germs is all that high-tech gear in homes -- everything from remote controls, to video game controllers, to keypads, to smartphone and tablet covers.

The best defense is to swab them down regularly with a wrung-out disinfected wipe. WebMD suggest using something with alcohol or bleach in it. Just make sure it is not too wet, and don't forget to wipe down the mouse too.

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