Study: The top 10 filthiest surfaces in your home


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You think you know the dirtiest surfaces in your home. You don’t.

In fact, NSF International’s “2013 Household Germ Study” asked volunteers to identify the items in their homes that they thought had the most germs. Here’s what volunteers thought were the germiest:

  1. Microwave keypad

  2. Can opener

  3. Refrigerator meat compartment

  4. Refrigerator vegetable compartment

  5. Flatware storage tray

  6. Knife block

  7. Pizza cutter

  8. Rubber spatula

  9. Refrigerator insulating seal

  10. Ice dispenser           


Here’s what were actually the germiest:

  1. Refrigerator water dispenser

  2. Rubber spatula

  3. Blender

  4. Refrigerator vegetable compartment

  5. Refrigerator ice dispenser

  6. Refrigerator meat compartment

  7. Knife block

  8. Food storage container with rubber seal

  9. Can opener

  10. Refrigerator insulating seal


It’s super important to clean these appliances and surfaces since germs can easily be transferred to food — particularly, raw produce, meat, poultry and seafood.    

"What's important to remember is the science behind the study. Germs exist everywhere and while not all germs are 'bad,' our goal is to educate the public about how they can help keep their families healthy," said Rob Donofrio, Ph.D., director of NSF International’s Applied Research Center.

NSF International’s 2013 Household Germ Study Finds Common Kitchen Items Harbor E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Yeast and Mold

The 2013 results for the top six germiest surfaces were the same as last year, harboring the same grossness:

  • Refrigerator vegetable compartment: Salmonella, Listeria, yeast and mold

  • Refrigerator meat compartment: Salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold

  • Blender gasket: Salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold

  • Can opener: Salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold

  • Rubber spatula: E. coli, yeast and mold

  • Food storage container with rubber seal: Salmonella, yeast and mold


And don’t forget to check out our tips for cleaning each of these germ-harboring kitchen items.