Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The good, the bad, and the ugly

"The helpful microorganisms overwhelmingly outnumber the harmful ones," says Jack Brown, PhD, a professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Kansas at Lawrence. "Removing a large proportion of the good bacteria gives the bad germs a chance to increase and potentially become harmful."
So what do you need to worry about?

Dirty Door Handles
The bathroom-door handle on the public restroom is the germiest place.

Unclean Office Objects
Claim: Your office desk is way dirtier than a toilet bowl.

Filthy Floors
You can get plantar warts and athlete's foot from walking barefoot on the gym floor.

Scuzzy Sponges
Washing a sponge in the dishwasher removes germs.

Unsanitary Kitchen Sinks
You need to clean the kitchen sink every day with bleach

Bunking with Bacteria
If you've had the same pillow for years, you're bunking with billions of bacteria

Bedbug Elimination
You must wash your sheets every week in hot water or you'll get bedbugs

Toothbrush Trouble
Every time you flush the toilet, your toothbrush gets sprayed with bacteria

Bathroom Bacteria Buildup
Wash your shower curtain, tiles, and tub once a week to prevent an overgrowth of bacteria.

Laundry Mildew
Letting wet clothes sit in the washer allows mildew to form

Contaminated Makeup
Your makeup is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Dirty Money
Money is by far the germiest stuff around.

Should You Use Antibacterial Products?
Not unless someone in the house is sick. A recent study found no difference in infectious disease rates in 228 households that used antibacterial items (hand-washing soaps, cleaners, laundry detergent) versus those that used regular products. Plus, there's a potential drawback: A number of studies have suggested that triclosan, an ingredient used in many antibacterial items, may actually foster resistance to many germs. The researchers concluded they're useful only if someone in your home is ill or has a skin or gastrointestinal ailment. Otherwise, Larson says, alcohol- and bleach-based products work best at killing germs without promoting the growth of dangerous "super bugs."