Plenty of germs are living in your bedroom

You don’t have to travel far to come in contact with germs. In fact, plenty are living right in your own bedroom.

Carpets and floors
Believe it or not, the average carpet contains about 200,000 bacteria per square inch. That’s nearly 4,000 times more than your toilet seat! But that’s not all. “If you don’t vacuum, heavy dirt gets ground in and light dust sits on top,” Carolyn Forte, the director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, tells Good Housekeeping. No matter how much foot traffic your carpets or floors get, you should vacuum and mop at least once a week.

Curtains
Not only are your curtains exposed to sunlight and other elements on a regular basis, but they’re also magnets for dust and grime. Joss & Main style director Donna Garlough recommends washing them at least twice a year. Cotton drapes just need a rinse in the washing machine, while silk, linen, or synthetic ones should go to a dry cleaner. Here is exactly how often you should be cleaning everything in your house.

Doorknobs
Grubby hands touch your bedroom’s doorknob every day, making it a hotbed for germs. The solution: “Hand washing remains the gold standard” for keeping any frequently touched surface clean, says Charles Gerba, PhD, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona. “However, if it is not done the right way for at least 15 to 20 seconds and at least a few times a day, then we can re-contaminate our hands again the moment we touch the next surface.” In addition to using good, old-fashioned soap and hot water, Dr. Gerba recommends trying Zoono GermFree24 Hand Sanitizer, which kills germs for up to 24 hours.

Your mattress
Fun fact: If your mattress is more than ten years old, you’re probably bunking with more than ten pounds of dead skin cells. And to make matters worse, dust mites love munching on all that dead skin. Sharing a bed with these critters is more than nasty; doing so can also be harmful for your health. “The proteins in dust mite feces can cause allergic reactions like watery eyes, a runny nose, and, in severe cases, asthma attacks,” says John Rukel, creator of Pillow of Health. As a rule of thumb, you should replace your mattress every seven to eight years. Don’t miss these other 14 bedroom items you really should have replaced by now.

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