You've worked hard to make your house a beautiful, peaceful haven — but even super-tidy homes can harbor unwelcome germs. In fact, "you're more likely to get sick from a germ in your own house than from any other source," says Kelly A. Reynolds, PhD, an environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona. But, not to worry: We've tracked down these germs and come up with simple strategies to get rid of them. Here, 10 places in your home, ranked from most to least germy by a team of experts, and easy ways to keep them clean — and keep you healthy.
Kitchen sink, countertop and sponges:
There are lots of places for germs to hang out in the kitchen, including the drain in your sink (typically home to more than 500,000 bacteria per square inch), the countertop (a welcome mat for food crumbs and meat juices), and the sponges, rags, scrubbers and towels you use for cleaning (roughly 70 percent harbor microbes like E. coli, the bacteria responsible for most urinary tract infections). But for every germy hot spot in the kitchen, there's a smart and simple way to clean up.