25 Surprising Places Where Bacteria Thrive You Won’t Believe

Posted by , Updated on October 8, 2022

You can find bacteria everywhere. In fact, there are more bacteria on Earth than stars in the universe. It takes 20 minutes for a bacterium to split into two (if the conditions are favorable). This means, in about eight hours, one bacterium can multiply into 16,777,216 bacteria.

Bacteria can be found on rocks, in oceans, soil, and even arctic snow. Many of them live on various other organisms, including on us.   

It’s a common belief that bacteria are present only in places that look dirty. However, bacteria can be found in seemingly clean places as well. You will be surprised to find out about the places bacteria flourish. While not all bacteria are harmful, and some can actually be beneficial to your health, there are numerous disease-causing bacteria. 

In this list, we will teach you about 25 surprising places bacteria thrive you won’t believe! As an added bonus we’ve also included ways you can combat all this bacteria buildup.




Sheets and Comforters


Bacteria and germs find our beds just as cozy as we do. They can be found there in abundance. Plus, did you know that bacteria feed on the dead skin, which we shed while sleeping?

Dusting your sheets and comforter before and after use, and washing them every week or two, can help prevent bacteria from accumulating.


Mouth Guards

mouth guard

While playing certain sports, you may be required to use a mouthguard. More often than not, people pop them into their mouths without washing them properly, which can lead to bacterial infections. These need to be cleaned thoroughly before and after every use

When not in use, most people store their mouthguards in a container or their backpack. Because it picks up so many germs from your mouth, which then multiply in the container, it becomes potentially harmful, even more so if you’ve touched it with dirty hands or dropped it on the floor and then put it in your mouth.

Never use your mouthguard without washing it thoroughly first. You may need to scrub it with mouthwash and then rinse it thoroughly. Treasure your health, and don’t compromise it for a moment of ease.


Pet Toys

Pet toys

We understand your love for your pets. However, understanding the extent to which their toys carry bacteria is very important. If you don’t take action to clean, sanitize, and disinfect these pet toys, you are likely to welcome bacterial infections for yourself and your family.

Scrub your pet’s hard toys with a mild bleach solution along with soap and water. As far as the soft toys go, throw them in the washer.




A cafeteria is a place where you go to eat. However, the number of people moving in and out of this place while eating, talking, coughing, sneezing, and doing all sorts of other things makes this place a hub for bacteria.

Food that falls onto the floor, spilled drinks, and numerous other such incidents add to the germ accumulation.

We recommend you to use sanitizer for your hands and try cleaning your sitting area with a disinfectant wipe if possible. Most importantly, wash your hands vigorously before and after your visit to the cafeteria.


Light Switches


Light switches are places in a house or an office that pretty much everyone has access to. Even random people can access light switches and handle them, and you have no idea what their sanitary status is. Really, any place with tons of people touching it carries a plethora of germs.

Clean the light switches with disinfectant wipes and wash your hands thoroughly after touching the light switches.




Money changes many hands before it reaches yours. Since you don’t know the hygienic condition of the hands touching the money before you, it’s safe to say that the coins or notes carry plenty of germs and bacteria.

According to research, money carries more bacteria than a toilet. Often, banknotes and coins feature pathogens like salmonella, E. coli, and staphylococcus aureus, all of which can cause serious illness.

Wash your hands after touching money. Avoid contact with your eyes, nose, and mouth to avoid any infection.


Cell Phone

Cell Phone

You are holding your cell phone almost all the time. Some people even use their cell phones in the bathroom. This excessive use leads to exposure to and accumulation of numerous germs.

During the day, you eat, sneeze, cough, and touch different surfaces while using your cell phone, thus exposing it to all kinds of germs and bacteria. Additionally, when you take your phone to the bathroom with you, fecal aerosol from flushing infects your cell phone with harmful bacteria.

We recommend that you wipe your phone with an antibacterial cloth or disinfectant spray at least once a day. Wash your hands before eating and avoid using your phone during your meal. Most importantly, do not take your phone to the bathroom with you.


Shopping Cart

shopping cart

As a general rule of thumb, anything that is open to random people’s touch is prone to carry bacteria. Shopping carts are one of the most common items used by random people. You have no idea who touched your cart before you.

You can clean the handle with a disinfectant wipe before you use it. Also, make sure that you do not touch your mouth, nose, or eyes while using the shopping cart, to prevent any infection. Thoroughly wash your hands afterward, with soap.


Salt and Pepper Shakers


Anything that comes in contact with different people has the potential to get bacterial accumulation. People often use salt and pepper shakers while eating food, increasing the need to regularly sanitize these items.

Clean the shakers with disinfectant wipes thoroughly while cleaning the table or kitchen counter. Also, wash your hands before reaching for these common objects. That way, you’ll be doing your part to keep them clean.


Faucet Handles


Faucets handles are hard to keep clean, as you cannot wash your hand before touching these. The germs and grime brought by different people’s hands result in dirty faucet handles, which not everyone bothers to clean afterward.

After washing your hands, you can wash the faucet handle with soapy water. You can also clean and disinfect your faucet handles thoroughly with antibacterial wipes or disinfectant sprays. Do this every day to keep bacteria from accumulating.




The keyboard is another place where bacteria may flourish. If you eat while working on your keyboard, you are likely to leave tiny food crumbs all over the place. These food particles are enough for bacteria to party on.

Sneezing, coughing, eating, touching the keyboard without clean hands, and many other activities during its use can lead to a large gathering of bacteria. You don’t want to get sick just because you were not careful with your gadget’s use.

Wash your hands vigorously before and after using the keyboard. Regularly clean your keyboard with disinfectant wipes. You can also use disinfectant sprays available in the market, which are safe to use with these gadgets.


Kitchen Counters

kitchen counter

The kitchen counter is a surface where you do almost all of your cutting, kneading, and cooking. Fruit, vegetables, and other food items are placed here, so there is a strong chance of bacteria infestation.

According to some studies, coliform bacteria are found in the kitchen counters more often than in other places. Spray disinfectant solution (bleach and water) on the countertop, let it air dry, or wipe it down with a clean cloth.


Toothbrush Holders


People often consider washing their toothbrush but they seldom consider washing the toothbrush holders. Somehow, it doesn’t occur to many people as an important task.

However, cleaning the toothbrush holder is as important as washing your toothbrush. If mold, yeast, or bacteria accumulates in these holders, it will eventually affect the cleanliness of your toothbrush.

Additionally, if your toothbrush holder is placed near the toilet, it can result in the settling of fecal aerosol on its surface. We recommend that you put it in a cabinet to avoid direct contact with fecal aerosol. Moreover, wash it thoroughly every few days with hot, soapy water.




Backpacks contain a variety of items ranging from books, clothes, and gadgets to food items. Moreover, you put it on numerous surfaces oblivious to the fact that the place may contain germs and bacteria. If you sweat, this would only add to the bacteria accumulating on your backpack.

While backpacks are your ultimate solution to a handy travel bag, lots of germs and bacteria can flourish on the base and the outer surface of the backpack.

Be careful about what you touch your mouth, eyes, and nose after handling your backpack. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap. If the backpack is washable, wash it once every week. If not, wipe it down regularly with an antibacterial/disinfectant cloth.


Menu Cards

menu card

Menu cards you get at a restaurant are often potential carriers of germs and bacteria. Bacteria flourishes at anything open to many people’s touch. At a restaurant, a waiter not only handles a menu card and food, but he also deals with the dirty dishes. The people who come to dine also handle it casually. They may cough or sneeze, not to mention their potentially unwashed hands.

We recommend that you do not touch your mouth, eyes, or nose while handling the menu. After placing your order, wash your hands thoroughly with soap before having your meal. You can also use a sanitizer to clean your hands.


Computer Lab


A place like a computer lab, where different people visit during the day, is likely to have thriving bacteria. Every person brings different kinds of germs, depending on where they’re been earlier. Not everyone bothers cleaning and sanitizing their hands before touching the computers, keyboards, chairs, and numerous other items in a computer lab.

Sneezing, coughing, and similar activities can create quite the germ infestation. We would recommend you avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes while using a computer in a computer lab. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap afterward to avoid any infection.


TV Remote

tv remote

A TV remote is a popular household item; everyone wants to keep a hold on it. For this reason, a TV remote contains numerous germs and bacteria. Everyone is touching this magical device, yet not everyone is careful with the cleaning of hands. You never know what kind of germs remain on someone’s hands.

Moreover, the TV remote falls on the floor and gets stuffed in the sofa cushions; people eat food, cough, sneeze while watching TV, all the while touching the remote. All these situations result in germs and bacteria accumulation on it.

However, you can still try and keep it clean. Use a disinfectant wipe to sanitize it thoroughly, or you can use a spray and then wipe it clean. Additionally, always wash your hands before handling your remote.


Coffee Makers

Coffee maker

Do you know that one of the best places for the bacteria to thrive lies in the reservoirs of a coffee maker? The damp and dark atmosphere in the coffee maker’s reservoirs serves as a hotbed. Yeast and mold easily accumulate there.

Follow the instructions provided in the manual to clean your coffee maker on a regular basis. You can also clean your coffee maker with some home remedies.

Add 3 to 4 cups of white, undiluted vinegar to the reservoir. Vinegar is an excellent disinfectant. Let it sit for a good half an hour, then brew all of it. The next step involves running two to four cycles of fresh and clean water until the smell vanishes.


Cutting Boards

cutting board

A cutting board is prone to accumulating a large number of bacteria. You use cutting boards to slice raw meat, vegetables, fruits, and various other items. All these products leave some residue. You can expect heavy bacteria infestation, including yeast, mold, and coliform bacteria, on cutting boards if they are not washed properly.

You can wash the cutting boards thoroughly using a dishwashing liquid with hot, soapy water or in a dishwasher. Then place it vertically to allow the board to dry completely.



bathtub bacteria

The bathtub is another shocking place on this list. How can a place where you take a bath and clean yourself be a good location for bacteria to thrive?

Well, initially, the bacteria accumulate in the pipelines where the water is held. When you open the faucet, these bacteria make it to the bathtub and stay there. Not all of them go down the drain. They multiply fast, and the hot, steamy conditions serve as a comfortable home for bacteria.

Bathtubs can be loaded with numerous kinds of bacteria containing streptococcus and E. coli, as well as staph aureus.

You should clean and disinfect your bathtub regularly by spraying it with white vinegar or any good disinfectant. Let it stay for a while, and then scrub it off with a heavy-duty sponge. We recommend you clean your tub twice a week.




Are you surprised to see a toothbrush on this list? It’s shocking to find the item you use to clean your teeth and mouth in a list of bacteria-infested places.

Let us explain how this works. Toothbrushes are generally present in the bathroom. If left in a moist place, they won’t dry immediately, thus making room for bacteria to grow.

Moreover, when you flush the toilet, fecal germs and bacteria shoot in the air in the form of aerosol spray – a phenomenon known as toilet plume. These mist particles can land anywhere in the bathroom, including on your toothbrush.

We recommend that you either put your toothbrush in a cabinet or keep it outside of the bathroom. In addition to that, always close the toilet lid before flushing.


Dish Sponges and Rags


Do you know that the sponges you use for washing your dishes are a hotbed for bacteria to accumulate? These dirty sponges provide the ideal condition for them to flourish. Studies revealed that dirty dish sponges contain yeast, mold, and even staphylococcus in some cases.

When you use them to wash dishes, it’s like circulating the germs from one utensil to another. Similarly, dishcloths may accumulate germs and bacteria from repeated use. We would recommend you to opt for a reusable dishcloth instead of using a regular dishcloth. If you still prefer using a rag, wash it with hot water every one or two days.

For cleaning your dish sponge, you can microwave your wet sponge for a minute or two, or boil it for several minutes to disinfect. We recommend that you change your dish sponge every two weeks.


Kitchen Sink

kitchen sink

Isn’t it ironic that the place you do most of the cleaning is one of the dirtiest of all? The kitchen sink ranks in the top five when it comes to places where bacteria accumulate.

Why do bacteria thrive there? If dirty dishes are left unwashed in the sink, it invites the rapid multiplication of harmful bacteria. Additionally, you wash dirty veggies, raw meat, and various other things in your sink. All the filth that goes down the pipe results in plenty of bacteria.

Clean your sink at least twice a week while giving special attention to its sides, the strainer, and the bottom. In addition to scrubbing these areas with a good disinfectant, mix a solution of one spoon of bleach with a quarter cup of water, and pour it down the drain.


Carpets, Floors, and Rugs

bacteria on carpets

Bacteria are already present all over the floor. Fortunately, these are not very harmful. However, it is always advisable to be safe than sorry. Clean your floor regularly and mop it with disinfectants.

Don’t eat anything dropped accidentally on your floor. It takes less than a second for the bacteria to stick to your food.

Carpets and rugs carry germs, dust, and bacteria that accumulate over time. In fact, nearly 4,000 times more bacteria may thrive in a carpet as compared to a toilet seat.

We recommend you to steam clean your carpet by using hot water with a suitable detergent. You can also use a solution of vinegar to disinfect and clean the carpet or rugs.


Doorknobs, Handrails, and Cabinet Handles

bacteria on Doorknobs

Places like handrails, doorknobs, and cabinet handles are open to everyone’s touch. You don’t know where those people have been, what the status of their hygiene is, whether they carry disease, and numerous other factors. Bacteria not only thrive in these areas but also spread from one place to another with every new hand.

You can clean and disinfect doorknobs, handrails, and cabinet handles in your house by using disinfecting wipes. You can also use a solution of bleach with water or undiluted vinegar to spray on the desired areas. Afterward, you can scrub and clean them with a cloth or let them air dry.

However, you cannot clean the doorknobs or handrails in public places such as a doctor’s office. In such a situation, we would recommend you to wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

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