More germs lurking on kettle handles than on toilet seats, study shows

The Britons who are brewing up trouble: There are more germs lurking on kettle handles than on toilet seats, study shows

  • A new study has found there are more germs on a kettle handle than a toilet seat
  • The handles were found to have large amounts of Staphylococcus aureus
  • This can cause skin infections, food poisoning and toxic shock syndrome

Wondering where to start your spring cleaning? You could do worse than giving the kettle a good once-over.

Researchers have discovered that the handle of a kettle in a typical home harbours more bacteria than a toilet seat.

Swab tests on everyday items found potentially deadly bugs on everything from bathroom taps to TV remotes, sets of keys and door handles.

Kettle handles were found to contain large amounts of Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause skin infections, food poisoning and sometimes even toxic shock syndrome. 

Researchers have discovered that the handle of a kettle in a typical home harbours more bacteria than a toilet seat (stock image)

TV remotes and keys also had more of the bacteria than toilet seats.

But it was the kitchen tap that was the most contaminated area, while bin lids had the highest levels of deadly E.coli.

The study of 2,000 adults for cleaning products firm Microban 24 found we clean forget to wipe down heavily used surfaces. 

Study leader Jonathan Cox, of Aston University in Birmingham, said: ‘Hopefully people will think a little bit more about where and how they are cleaning.’

He added: ‘While it might seem shocking, it’s not that surprising that we found bacteria on these high contact surfaces.

‘We actually found more bacteria on the handle of the kettle than we did on the toilet seat.

‘That may sound startling, but perhaps if you think about how regularly you clean those different environments it may be less surprising.

‘I think it shines a light on the particular areas that maybe we don’t think of cleaning quite so regularly.’

TV remotes and keys also had more of the bacteria than toilet seats (stock image)

The experiment saw the swabs plated out in nutrient agar and incubated at body temperature (37 degrees) – the optimum temperature for bacteria growth – for 24 hours.

The TV remote was home to possible E. coli, while the sink splash back was found to have Pseudomonas, which is often found in soil and plants.

It comes after the survey found that during the average week, adults spend 90 minutes cleaning their home.

But 47 per cent admitted this has increased by an average of 43 minutes since the start of the pandemic.

Despite this, more than one in 10 have never cleaned their front door handle, and another seven per cent haven’t ever wiped down their internal door handles.

Others have never cleaned remote controls (13 per cent), stair handrails (five per cent) and mobile phones (11 per cent).

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