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Can You Guess the Top 5 Dirtiest Items in Your Home?

If you were asked where the most germs reside in your home, you’d probably say the toilet seat, but BestLife reports you’d better look elsewhere if you really want to steer clear of household germs. Believe it or not, the one item you might think is the cleanest is actually 200,000 times worse than the toilet seat.

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What might that item be? None other than the sponge you use to wash your dishes. Second in line is your kitchen sink, followed by your toothbrush holder, pet bowls and your coffeemaker.

Sixth on the list are the door knobs in your home, with your phone (10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat), remote controls, computer keyboard, washing machine, reusable shopping bags, faucet handles and stove knobs also in the top 13.

While it may be a surprise if you haven’t heard it before, it’s no secret that your kitchen sponge may be something you want to just dump. Part of the problem with sponges in particular is that they’re generally held under a faucet of warm to hot running water, which simply jump-starts additional bacteria, as the moisture and warmth creates the perfect living environment for them.

Unfortunately, cleaning a dirty sponge only helps its worst bacteria. You read that right — sponges are incredibly tricky to clean and, essentially, it’s better to just throw them out. So, how do you manage all the bacteria in your home, especially if you want to avoid toxic commercial cleaners?

The good news is you can clean your home effectively and safely using natural ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, coconut oil, lemons and castile soap. Essential oils can be added to all your homemade cleaning products for an extra antimicrobial boost.

Many essential oils have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. For instance, to make a homemade cleaning scrub with antibacterial activity, simply add a few drops of lavender oil to baking soda.

Some of the most popular essential oils for cleaning include lemon, peppermint and tea tree, with tea tree oil showing antiviral activity against viruses like influenza A.

Sweet orange is another option, which has been shown to work against E. coli and salmonella. In addition to adding them to your cleaning supplies, essential oils can be diffused around your home for a natural, therapeutic air freshener. Ditch the toxic sprays, candles and plug-ins for an essential oil diffuser instead. They not only smell wonderful but can have beneficial effects on your mood and stress levels.

And unlike synthetic fragrances, which pollute your air, essential oils may help to improve indoor air quality. In the case of fungi and mold, for instance, essential oils from heartwood, marjoram, cinnamon, lemon basil, caraway, bay tree, fir, peppermint, pine, cedar leaf and Manuka are known to have antifungal potential, as well.

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