Seems like we may consider ourselves clean freaks, being careful to never touch to many things in public, but there are plenty of places at home where germs lurk that we may have never thought about. Remember to approach these areas with caution…

  1. Fridge seals

First of all, consider what you keep in there. You want to keep your fridge spick and span, right?. The same goes for the rubber cushioning that surrounds your fridge. Take a close look at the edges and make sure you wipe them at least once a week with disinfectant or a bleach solution.

  1. Crack in crockery

Ever noticed a crack in your crockery? That old dish may look clean, but that crack is likely to harbour thousands of germs and bacteria. The same applies with chopping boards. If it starts to develop deep makes from knife cuts, it’s time to replace it.

  1. Vacuum cleaner

We all associate our Hoover with cleanliness, but it’s one of the most germ-laden appliances in our possession. The vacuum chamber houses much more than harmless hair and dust. A study published in the journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology shows that vacuum bags and brushes are riddled with spreadable bacteria – with some even carrying antibiotic resistance genes. Thoroughly clean any compartments and attachments with dish soap and warm water, run an old comb over the brush and clear residue from the filter.

  1. Reusable shopping bags

You may be saving the environment, but you could also be harming yourself. Don’t go throwing yours out just yet. Just make sure you wipe them down with a paper cloth sprayed with all-purpose cleaner or white vinegar (and let them dry completely) to prevent cross-contamination.

  1. Welcome mat

Don’t ever think about resting your bags on the welcome mat as you find your keys. The area around your door is the filthiest in your house. Just think about where you walk and what you scrape your shoes against throughout the day – schools, shops, banks, and pavements. One study found that nearly 96 per cent of shoes had traces of coliform, including fecal bacteria. You don’t just greet your guests, but also the army of germs that accompany them on their footwear. Give your welcome mat a spray with disinfectant whenever you can.

  1. Oven knobs and handles

They may not look particularly dirty, but they’re easy targets for contamination. Frequently touched and exposed to pathogens such as E. coli and staph, which can make the whole household sick. The bacteria from your hands and grease from your cooking creates a grotty buildup you don’t want anywhere near your food. Don’t forget them in your cleaning routine! A regular wipe down with white vinegar or antibacterial spray will do the trick.

  1. Toothbrush holder

The toothbrush holder is so filthy it gives the toilet bowl a run for its money. They’re perpetually moist and typically situated near the toilet, catching the floating particles of fecal bacteria that catapult into the air everytime you flush. (N.B. The same applies to your toothbrush.) Additionally, toothbrush holders are often neglected in the cleaning process, providing an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Throw yours into the dishwasher tonight.

  1. Washing machine

Finally, if you put something ridden with bacteria in the washing machine, where does that bacteria end up? Lower temperature cycles aren’t strong enough to kill it, encouraging breeding and transferring germs from your undies to your tea towels. Yuck! They may smell fresh, but don’t be lulled in a false sense of security and cleanliness! Always wash towels, household linen, socks and underwear on a higher temperature, sanitising your dirtiest items with a 10 per cent bleach solution. Take wet laundry out as soon as it’s done and leave the lid open between washes.