The dirty hotspots in your home that harbour more bacteria than toilet seats

Light switch
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Despite the UK's fascination with cleaning, it appears our own homes may be dirtier than we realise. Even with our best efforts, certain areas are frequently missed during our daily tidying routines.

New research from Initial Washroom Hygiene has revealed that everyday items such as light switches, oven doors, kettles, and door handles are hotspots for microbial contamination. This data was collected through a swabbing study conducted in a selection of homes.

The study shockingly found that many Brits confess to never even wiping down some of the most frequently touched areas in their homes. It also suggests that deep cleans may be falling out of favour.

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While a bit of dirt is harmless, high levels of bacteria can harbour all sorts of unpleasant surprises you wouldn't want in your home. Ironically, most of us spend more time cleaning our toilets than we do sanitising everyday areas that could contain up to six times the amount of bacteria.

The scientific study used an ATP bioluminescence reader to detect levels of biological life invisible to the naked eye. Alongside the swabbing exercise, a consumer research survey involving over 2,000 respondents was also carried out to delve into the cleaning habits of Brits, reports the Manchester Evening News.

Door handles
How dirty are your door handles? -Credit:Getty

Despite being some of the most frequently touched items in the home, a fifth of those surveyed confessed to cleaning their light switches once a year or less, with 8% admitting they have never cleaned them.

The sample tests revealed that 60% of light switches swabbed had a reading of over 500 ATP units, indicating a high level of contamination. The same was true for door handles, with 65% of the door handles swabbed surpassing 500 ATB units, reaching an average reading of 995, almost double what would be considered a normal level.

Even more concerning, 41% of Brits confessed they don't always wash their hands after returning home each day. One in 10 say they never sanitise the handle of their kettle and 13% admit to not cleaning their electric toothbrush for six months or more.

Hands of mature women gaming with handheld game controls.
Games consoles can go uncleaned for up to a year -Credit:Getty

Our TV remotes and technology didn't fare much better either. Gamers in the North West (22%) and Midlands (19%) are most likely to have consoles left uncleaned for a year or more, and a fifth (19%) of parents with children under the age of 10 said they cleaned their games consoles once a year or less.

Busy lifestyles and extended work hours have resulted in a decrease in the popularity of thorough or 'spring' cleaning in our homes. Jamie Woodhall, a representative for Initial Washroom Hygiene, stated: "Whether or not you plan to conduct a deep clean of your home at some point during the year, it's important to think about where biological life may be accumulating. So a regular clean with an antibacterial wipe of remote controls, door handles, game consoles, and so on, is advisable.

"Bacteria good and bad are naturally present in every household, but to help protect loved ones and reduce the risk of illnesses spreading, people should remember to clean everyday items that are regularly handled and high touchpoint surfaces. It doesn't take long if you make it part of a cleaning routine, and combined with regular handwashing, can make a real difference in helping to create healthier, safer living environments."