Germs….

Although this isn’t related to forensic science, it is, nonetheless, interesting.  It’s written by Ed Maden who is listed as a forensic, fire, flood, mold inspection & remediation/restoration contractor.

He writes that he was recently asked about which area of a house is the dirtiest or collects the most dirt.  A precis of his answer is as follows:

• Kitchen tap: The metal aeration screen at the end of your kitchen faucet (tap) reduces water flow which is great to conserve water; however, not so good for your health. The running water keeps the screen moist; it’s a great place for bacterial growth. As we all know water is far from being sterile. If you accidentally touch that screen with your mouth, fingers or food, bacteria will grow.

Over time that bacteria growth will form into a wall of pathogens called biofilm that sticks to the screen. Eventually that biofilm will break off and could fall into your food or dishes. The best way to solve this problem is to clean the screen weekly in a diluted solution of bleach and water.

• Vacuum cleaners: Vacuums are outstanding spots for germs to gather. You suck in all of the dirt, food and bacteria from your floors into an atmosphere for growth. Recent studies by the EPA showed that 13 percent of vacuum cleaner brushes tested positive for E.coli (poop), which means you could be spreading it around your home each time you use the machine. The best solution to this problem is to clean your machine frequently, please do it outside to avoid further contamination in your home. A solution of bleach and water should do the trick.

• Dashboards: Recent test of more than 100 dashboards across America found very high levels of fungal growth (mold) and bacteria. They theorized that after food or drinks were spilled, it migrated into the venting system where it grew bacteria and fungus. The spores grew well because of lots of direct sun light and moisture (condensation).  The best way to solve this problem is to not use the dashboard as a platform to hold drinks and food. If you do, clean it with a disinfectant wipe. During pollen season, keep the dashboard clean and free of debris, otherwise you will be inhaling all of those fine particles into your lungs.

• Soap dispensers: I know this will sound strange; however, soap will grow bacteria. One recent study found that about 25 percent of the liquid soap dispensers in public restrooms were contaminated with faecal matter (poop). Most of these containers are never cleaned, so bacteria growth develops as the soap scum builds up.

• Restaurant ketchup bottles: Most eating establishments rarely bleach down their condiment containers. The reality is that most people don’t wash their hands before eating. The guy who used the ketchup before you could have had E.coli on his hands which was transferred to the ketchup bottle that you are now using.

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