How’s your toothbrush looking these days? Even if you can’t see it with the naked eye, it may be saturated with millions of toilet germs! Germ expert Dr. Charles Gerba is a microbiology professor at the University of Arizona. He says there are approximately 3 million bacteria per square inch in most toilet bowls. And every time you flush without closing the lid, those millions of bacteria droplets spray into the air – as far as 20 feet away – and contaminate everything in their path. And a common victim is your poor toothbrush, which is usually left out on the bathroom sink.
So, what can you do? Dr. Gerba says it’s easy – close the toilet lid before you flush to drastically cut down on airborne germs. Also, rinse your toothbrush every few days in mouthwash or peroxide to blast any lingering germs. You can even put it through the dishwasher to sanitize it. And always store your toothbrush in a closed cabinet.
But there’s more to worry about than the bathroom – Dr. Gerba says your kitchen sink is probably dirtier than your toilet! He says, "If an alien came from space and studied the bacterial counts, he probably would conclude he should wash his hands in your toilet and go to the bathroom in your sink." That’s because the kitchen sink is a great place for E. coli to live and grow since it’s wet and moist. Bacteria feed on the food that people put down the drain and what’s left on dishes in the sink. To reset your sink's bacteria count back to zero, regularly wash it with hot water and diluted bleach. In fact, you may want to do it every day before preparing dinner.