Why your kitchen sink might be dirtier than your loo

A new study from a group of environmental scientists suggests the average family kitchen can contain more harmful germs than the bathroom, according to the news agency Associated Press.

The scientists, working on behalf of a cleaning products manufacturer, took samples from 20 family homes in seven regions including the UK – and their findings were alarming.

Internationally, 90 per cent of kitchen cloths, 46 per cent of kitchen sinks, 38 per cent of bathroom sinks and 14 per cent of children’s toys had a total bacteria count of more than 100,000 per square centimetre.

Professor John Oxford, a virologist at St Bartholemew’s and the Royal London Hospital, led the study. He is also chairman of the UK’s Hygiene Council – read its recommendations here.

He warned that families put great effort into cleaning toilets but not nearly as much time into keeping their kitchens clean: “You could eat your dinner in a US toilet but there is a lack of appreciation that kitchen sinks can be contaminated with faecal organisms, either coming in with fruit and vegetables or from pets and children.”

The moral of this tale? Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Disinfect high-risk areas. Dispense with all your horrible old cleaning cloths and replace them, as this is where many of the nasties live.

Or give them a one-minute spell in the microwave, as this is a sure-fire way to kill bacteria. (Except you probably don’t want to do that with the bathroom ones.)