The average American has spent almost three full WEEKS cleaning their homes over the course of the past year, according to new research. A survey of 2,000 Americans revealed in an average pre-pandemic week, respondents would spend five hours and 37 minutes cleaning. Since the start of the pandemic, 71% said they've spent more time cleaning than ever before, adding an average three hours and 12 minutes per week to their cleaning routines over the past 12 months. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Bounty, the survey delved into Americans' cleaning behaviors, and how those have changed in the wake of the ongoing pandemic. Results found 79% believe the pandemic has made them more aware of bacteria and cleanliness in general — and 78% said it's made them more aware of their own levels of cleanliness. When asked which areas of their home they believed to be the dirtiest, respondents selected the handles and knobs in their kitchen as the single dirtiest piece of their home (44%). Only 18% of respondents considered their kitchen hand towels to be among the dirtiest in the home. Yet, it is a commonly used item to wipe up a mess or spill (58%). Twenty-five percent of respondents have heard that bacteria can grow on a dish towel, but don't believe it to be true and 12% were not aware of this fact at all. According to infectious disease expert, Jessica Rivera, "Used dishcloths can provide a flourishing environment for bacteria. And what many do not realize is, when you wipe up a mess or dry your hands with a used, reusable cloth, you may be helping to spread bacteria." While the vast majority of respondents said their cleaning habits have changed since the pandemic started, many are still missing something crucial: the importance of cleaning their cleaning supplies. Three in 10 respondents said they don't clean their cleaning supplies — and even of those who do, they use their supplies an average of four times before washing them. In fact, only 11% of respondents replace/clean their kitchen hand towel more often than once a week. And 41% of the respondents will use more than 5 times before washing it. Rivera says, "To get the level of clean people want in their homes, I recommend using a fresh paper towel to wipe up and throw away messes, especially in high-traffic areas like the kitchen."