The 10 germiest places in your house

There are less obvious places around most homes that are crawling with bacteria. (Thinkstock)
Some of the less obvious places around most homes are crawling with bacteria. (Thinkstock)
The study found eight percent of cutting boards hold potentially dangerous coliform bacteria. Fourteen percent contain molds and yeasts. (WTOP File)
10. Cutting boards Before you set the bird down on your cutting board next holiday, consider how well you cleaned it last time around. The NSF study found eight percent of cutting boards hold potentially dangerous coliform bacteria. Fourteen percent contain molds and yeasts. (WTOP File)
Most oven knobs come off to allow homeowners to wash them.
 
The NSF study found oven knobs had coliform bacteria, while 27 percent tested positive for molds and yeasts. (Thinkstock)
9. Oven knobs Most oven knobs come off to allow homeowners to wash them. The NSF study found 14 percent of oven knobs had coliform bacteria, while 27 percent tested positive for molds and yeasts. (Thinkstock)
While many homeowners wipe down their counters regularly, they may not be using solvent strong enough to kill the bacteria. 

The NSF study found most countertops had coliform bacteria and molds. (iStockphoto)
8. Kitchen counters While many homeowners wipe down their counters regularly, they may not be using solvents strong enough to kill the bacteria. The NSF study found most countertops had coliform bacteria and molds. (Thinkstock)
7. Pet toys When you think about how many times pets slobber all over their toys and where they set them down, it’s not surprising pet toys are crawling with bacteria. Scientists found 23 percent of pet toys harbored dangerous staph bacteria that can cause infections. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
6: Faucet Handles

It's the place you touch just before you wash your hands. So scientists found coliform bacteria, molds and staph on the faucet handles of homes.
6. Faucet handles It’s the place you touch just before you wash your hands. So not surprisingly scientists found coliform bacteria, molds and staph on faucet handles of homes. (Getty Images)
5. Coffee makers They’re used daily in many homes. But once the coffee is made, the dark and damp conditions inside are a breeding ground for bacteria. (AP)
dogbowl.jpg
4. Pet bowls Nearly half of all pet bowls the scientists with the Public Health and Safety Organization tested had mold and yeast, and 18 percent contained coliform bacteria. (Getty Images)
toothbrushholder.jpg
3. Toothbrush holders It’s near the toilet, and rarely gets a good cleaning. The study found 64 percent of toothbrush holders tested positive for yeast. And 27 percent had coliform bacteria. (Getty Images)
2. Kitchen sinks It’s the germ hub of your kitchen — bacteria is washed off dishes and hands, but collects here. In the study, nearly half of sinks contained coliform bacteria, while 27 percent contained molds. (AP)
sponge.jpg
1. Dish sponges and rags While most of us know sponges can harbor bacteria, we keep them in rotation a little too long. Same goes for rags. Toss the sponge and wash each rag every two weeks. The kitchen sponge is what we use to keep things clean, but it was the No. 1 offender scientists found for carrying germs in the average household. The study found 77 percent of sponges contained coliform bacteria, and another 86 percent contained yeast and mold. (Getty Images)
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There are less obvious places around most homes that are crawling with bacteria. (Thinkstock)
The study found eight percent of cutting boards hold potentially dangerous coliform bacteria. Fourteen percent contain molds and yeasts. (WTOP File)
Most oven knobs come off to allow homeowners to wash them.
 
The NSF study found oven knobs had coliform bacteria, while 27 percent tested positive for molds and yeasts. (Thinkstock)
While many homeowners wipe down their counters regularly, they may not be using solvent strong enough to kill the bacteria. 

The NSF study found most countertops had coliform bacteria and molds. (iStockphoto)
6: Faucet Handles

It's the place you touch just before you wash your hands. So scientists found coliform bacteria, molds and staph on the faucet handles of homes.
dogbowl.jpg
toothbrushholder.jpg
sponge.jpg

WASHINGTON — It’s the time of year when colds are going around, so keeping a home as germ free as possible is a good idea. But there are places many people may not think to clean which are crawling with bacteria.

Some may think the germiest place in their home is the toilet seat, but it doesn’t even crack the top 10 listed by the National Science Foundation.

Scientists took samples from 30 surfaces in 22 homes testing for yeast, mold and coliform bacteria including E.coli and staph germs. The results found the places that need a good cleaning are likely not on a homeowner’s radar, such as the remote control, light switches and the salt and pepper shakers.

Click through the gallery above to see the germiest places in the house.

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Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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