The dirtiest item in your home may not necessarily be your tooth brush, converter or door knob as most people think. In fact, it may also depend on what part of the world you live in. A study by the Hygiene Council states the facts, and their conclusions suggest your kitchen towel is the dirtiest if you live in Canada.
A group of international experts in microbiology, virology, infectious diseases, immunology and public health. Funded by Reckitt Benckiser, the council makes recommendations to help improve hygiene in the home.
In an examination of 20 Canadian homes, the council's researchers found four contained kitchen towels that were highly contaminated with E. coli. The report recommends towels be washed in water hotter than 60 C or using boiling water in a pot to kill the bacteria, which can cause severe cramping and bloody diarrhea.
The council took various samples from 20 homes in each of nine countries, finding Germany and the U.S. had the cleanest kitchen towels, with 85 per cent of towels either spotless or at least satisfactory when it came to E. coli counts.
"What is apparent is that Canadians do clean, but not necessarily effectively enough by targeting specific areas with a method that really works," Dr. Donald Low, a microbiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and a member of the Hygiene Council, said in a release. "Practicing good hygiene through targeted disinfecting as well as regular hand washing is something we can all do to maintain a clean, healthy home environment."
The council also assessed bacteria and mould, finding that they were most commonly found inside fridges and on seals around the bath or shower. People living in homes with high levels of mould report an increased incidence of asthma, respiratory infections and symptoms such as rhinitis, sore throat, cough and common cold.
The cleanest fridges were found in Canada and the U.S., where just five per cent had unsatisfactory levels of bacteria and mould.
Canada also ranked the highest in the bathroom seals category, with just 20 per cent failing the test for bacteria and 25 per cent failing for mould. The U.S. was the next cleanest for bathroom seals, with 40 per cent failing the bacterial test.