Dealing with Hidden Dangers at Home

Your home should serve as a healthy and comfortable haven where you and your family feel completely safe. Unfortunately, hidden dangers lurk throughout your home that can threaten the wellbeing of everyone living under your roof. Pest, viruses, germs, and chemicals can all present serious risks when left unchecked. To help you keep these unseen dangers at bay, here are a few solutions to assist you in identifying and addressing areas where common household problems can arise.


Considering that the mouth acts as the gateway to the body, it only makes sense that the kitchen represents one of the biggest threats to your safety. Nearly every surface in the kitchen acts as a magnet for pests, germs, viruses, and bacteria. Here are a few trouble spots to keep in mind:

Dishtowels and sponges. When you fail to store sponges correctly, the tiny kitchen aid can quickly develop mold and become the home of thousands of food-borne pathogens and germs. The same can apply to dish towels that aren’t hung up to dry.

Fortunately, you can take steps to address both of these issues. First, place the sponge in the dishwasher whenever you run a load to have the sponge thoroughly washed and dried. If you don’t have a dishwasher, you can place a sponge in the microwave for a minute to kill any unseen bacteria. Make sure you regularly wash or change out your dishtowels to prevent them from building up bacteria.

Cutting board. You should use the same cutting board to slice vegetables and raw meat unless you thoroughly clean the board between uses. Keeping the two separate will help reduce your risk of cross contamination and the potential spread of E. coli, salmonella, and other types of bacteria. To completely reduce your risk, you may want to consider the use of two separate boards, each with their own specific uses.

Countertops. By taking a few extra steps, you can prevent your kitchen countertops from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria. Take the time to sanitize your countertops with a little bleach (generally no more than one teaspoon of bleach per quart of water) once you have finished wiping down the counter with soap and water.


Regardless of whether you share your bed at night with a partner, you’re never sleeping alone at night. Pet dander, dust mites, dust, mold, and other bacteria can deeply imbed themselves into your mattress, and negatively impact any potential allergies you might have. To get on top of critters living in your mattress, consider purchasing a plastic mattress and pillow covers, and always wash your sheeting in hot water at least once a week. If the idea of plastic covering your sheets sounds too much like a trip to grandma’s, then make sure you vacuum your mattress when changing the sheets.


Floor and ceiling. Mold can grow quickly when left unchecked in the bathroom, and presents a variety of health problems that include itchy watery eyes and asthma attacks. Another potential danger that lurks in the bathroom is trichophyton, a fungus that can cause athlete’s foot and ringworm and is transferable from contact with infected flooring.

To prevent the spread of this type of fungus, make sure to take the time to disinfect your bathroom floor and shower using a cleaner and a little bleach once a week. You may also want to purchase a shower curtain you can wash once every few weeks to remove any hidden bacteria or fungus.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance health writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of Oregon City Dentistry.

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