Helpling, the online cleaning platform shares with us some common misconceptions around household hygiene to help Aussies avoid the germs that cling to our warm bodies during winter.

1. Bacteria dies in the freezer: False

At -18 °C, bacteria is still alive, it just can’t multiply at this temperature. As soon as the food starts getting thawed, bacteria begins to multiply again and at room temperature, the number of bacteria doubles every 20 minutes.

Tip: Check you freezer setting to ensure that you food is being safely stored. It is also ideal to de-frost your freezer during winter to ensure your settings are being insulated correctly. You can do this using boiling water, a few clothes to soak up the water.

2. Coins and bills are swarmed with bacteria: False

Tests have proven the copper in coins actually kills bacteria. On bills, only small amounts of bacteria exist, as they don’t provide proper living condition for bacteria.

3. No need to wash the dishwasher, because it is a ‘washer’! False

The inside of a dishwasher should be cleaned monthly. It is a perfect place for fungi and black yeast to grow.

Tip: Pour vinegar into a dishwasher-safe cup and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher (empty) and run it for a full cycle at a hot temperature.

4. Wearing gloves is more hygienic than hand washing: False

Gloves can be very unhygienic. It is crucial to keep gloves clean and dry when being stored it in the cupboard – they must also be changed regularly, at least once a month to minimise bacteria growth.

Tip: To clean, place them in the basin in hot water with two spoons of vinegar, a small amount of detergent and let them soak for 10 – 15 minutes. Rinse them thoroughly and then dry them in a cool place.

5. The more soap means the more cleaning power: False

Not necessarily. Sometimes more soap can create more problems. Funnily enough, soap or detergent is a great nutrient for bacteria. Therefore, if you don’t rinse your hands, dishes, or clothes thoroughly it can aid the growth of bacteria.

Tip: If you can see any soap residue you haven’t rinsed well enough. Make sure all bubbles are gone and leave items in a place where they can completely dry.

6. All bacteria is harmful to humans: False

On the contrary: humans need bacteria to live. In our intestines and on our skin there are billions of microorganisms, with only few of them being pathogens (germs!). In fact, some foods contains good bacteria that help fight off the germs in our bodies.

7. Scratched Teflon pans are carcinogenic: False

Scratched Teflon pans are harmful only above 260 °C. Above this temperature, the coating called ‘polytetrafluoroethylene’ emits toxic fumes.

Tip: However, such temperatures can only be reached through a specific way of overheating so make sure you are using a standard burner when using these pans and not an industrial one made for professional kitchens.

8. Cutting boards act as a nest for bacteria: False

If you clean your cutting board carefully, then it is fine to use a wooden or a plastic board. Woods contain resins and oils of germicidal features and certain wood species also contain tannic acid, which is also germicidal.

Tip: When using plastic boards, it helps to kill bacteria if you put them in a dishwasher with around 60 °C temperature.

9. The toilet is the dirtiest place in the house: False

Far greater sources of bacteria are the refrigerator and dishcloths. Additionally, it is now a well-known fact that a keyboard contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat.

Tip: Use a disinfectant wipe to go over the most used items in the house every fortnight. Door handles, television remotes, microwave buttons, light switches are all touched and probably contain more germs than your toilet seat.

10. You can use the same bath towel repeatedly without concern: False

Damp towels are ideal habitats for bacteria where they spread and stay until used again.

Tip: Always hang a used towel outside after using to ensure maximum dryness and fewer germs. This will also decrease odours and towel quality.

Do you have to add to this list? SHARE with us in the comments below.

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • This article was incredibly helpful and interesting, thanks!


  • Great read. I was unaware of some of these things. Thank for clearing them up.


  • There was quite a few surprises….thanks for sharing I found out a few things I didn’t know!


  • holy heck – a few shocks for me in there the towels especially x


  • Interesting to find out money isn’t as germ-ridden as I originally thought. And that scratched Teflon is ok within limits! Might have to let my husband know about the toilet-refrigerator-keyboard comparison……he is a tad paranoid about the cleanliness of toilets, especially public ones.


  • A really interesting article! Thanks for sharing this!


  • Interesting tips. Our dishwasher definitely needs cleaning regularly as it gets gross!


  • oh my gosh, I am really scared about my hygiene after reading this… I believed all these myths!


  • I’ve reread this article to remind me of the bacteria that lurks in our homes .


  • Great tips and myth-busters, thanks a lot for the post! :)


  • stop reusing plastic water bottles as not good storage, though handy it is true, if left in car (as I used to do) becomes unhygienic and water no good for you, So looks like old glass bottle is best to carry, you can buy a case in which can protect it to carry


  • cleaning very important for all of us


  • This is a great article. Heaps of handy tips. Thankyou for sharing :)


  • Disinfectants is more effective than cleaning. If you read the instructions carefully on the disinfectant, it states to clean the surface first with soap and water before using the disinfectant.


  • This was a great read! Quite a few of my beliefs were turned on their head!


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