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The Dirtiest Things In Your Kitchen
Some of the dirtiest things you touch every day are in your kitchen. From salt and pepper shakers to the knobs on your stove, germs are hiding in the most unexpected places. KEYE TV Consumer Reporter Bettie Cross tests one contaminated item in your kitchen that could make you sick.
We expect trash cans and floors, refrigerator handles and sinks to be filthy. Experts say the sink is the dirtiest place in the kitchen and your sponge is the dirtiest thing in the sink.
"Keeping a house clean with six people is impossible," said KEYE TV reporter Lisa Leigh Kelly.
The mother of four is constantly wiping up messes. Sticky might be the best way to describe their life. Which is why she agreed to help us test how germy is something that's meant to keep us clean.
"I can't say I've ever cleaned the soap dispenser. It's pretty gross," said Kelly.
We took her dispenser and two others to ACC Biology Professor Felix Villarreal. He's going to find out what's growing where we'd least expect it. After incubating a day and a half it's time to come clean.
Not surprisingly, Kelly's big family wins the prize for dirtiest dispenser. The petri dish looks disgusting. Each shape and color represents a different type of bacteria.
A study by the Global Hygiene Council found two out of three kitchen soap dispensers were contaminated with an average of 4.5 million bacteria microorganisms including E. coli and fecal contamination. But the professor says nothing he sees here is likely to make you sick.
"As long as there are no cuts or breaks in your skin, the skin is a very, very nice barrier to them getting into your body," said Professor Villarreal.
"I could see how the kitchen soap dispenser would be germy, but you always wash your hands after you've touched it. So is it really not that big of a deal," said Kelly.
We decided to find out. Linda Cox works for the Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services Department and has been teaching people the right way to wash hands for five years. She put my hand washing habits to the test with a fluorescent lotion that simulates germs.
"I'm going to do this like it's a busy day," said reporter Bettie Cross.
Which is typical, because Cox says on average we only spend 3 to 4 seconds washing our hands, and it shows.
"Look at your thumbs. Look at your fingernail beds." said Cox.
Anything that glows under this UVA lamp is still dirty.
"The germs can last literally up to 48 hours," said Cox.
Her advice - instead of worrying about what's on your soap dispenser, do more with what's in it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the key to getting your hands clean is friction. So work up a good lather while you scrub your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If you need a timer, hum the "Happy Birthday" song twice. And experts say water temperature doesn't really matter.
By Bettie Cross