General, Research, Technology

Where microbes live in the house and how to deal with them?

Even when you think you stayed proudbeing alone at home is not the case. And it's not about a dog, cat or aquarium fish, but about billions of tiny roommates. Some are harmless, others are useful, but there are those that can - with the right concentration and the wrong circumstances - cause you to die. Bacteria, viruses and fungi, whether you like it or not, are on you, around you and deep inside you. The fact that bacterial life everywhere surprises no one, but photographs of microbes under a microscope, nevertheless, cause concern. Especially when you realize that they settled on your doorknobs, your favorite mug and even a sponge for washing dishes. From this article you will find out where microbes live in the house and what to do about it.

Household dust can tell a lot about your personality.


  • 1 Where do microbes live?
  • 2 Three ecosystems of your home
    • 2.1 Door handle
    • 2.2 Bedroom
    • 2.3 Kitchen
  • 3 How to deal with germs in the house?

Where do microbes live?

Scientists are increasingly beginning to value wealth socalled a microbiome - microscopic or, in the case of viruses, submicroscopic - an ecosystem as complex as those found in oceans, rainforests and deserts. You and your home have a microbiome, and in most cases it’s good: intestinal bacteria living in harmony with you can strengthen your immune system, help digest food and even protect against certain diseases. Still, it would be nice to get to know these tiny creatures better.

To this end, researchers from the universityNorth Carolina, led by biologist Rob Dunn, a project manager called Wildlife at Your Home, conducted a series of microbiological expeditions through people's homes and apartments in 2012 and 2013, trying to discover new life forms, identify acquaintances and find out which ones where dwell and why. Scientists also wanted to find out how each kind of bacteria affects us by interacting with our microbial ecosystems and possibly even joining them in our guts.

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According to Times, a microbiological expeditionin fact, it turned out to be a set of samples that were sent to the experiment participants by mail. The kit contained sterile cotton swabs for wiping six areas chosen because Dunn and his colleagues suspected they would represent several different ecosystems: a computer screen, an entrance door handle, a toilet seat, a kitchen table, and a pillowcase. The subjects had to fill out a questionnaire about themselves and their habits, including the cleaning products they use, as well as the presence / absence of allergies. The collected samples sealed in plastic bottles, the study participants sent back to North Carolina.

Three ecosystems of your home

The results of each individual “expedition” wereset out by researchers in a table listing more than 1,400 different bacteria identified by DNA. Biologists have arranged the names of the bacteria so that they display the inhabitants of three places, representing the three most common home ecosystems: the kitchen, the door handle and the bed.

Handprint of a 10 year old child after a walk in the yard


On the door handle subjects living near park areaspredictably turned out to be the most common bacterial DNA of plants. Chloroplasts, structures that allow plants to extract energy from photosynthesis, were originally free-floating cyanobacteria that settled in plant cells. But the detected DNA of cyanobacteria is a sign of pollen in the house.

Near skin chloroplastsbacteria, including from the genus Corynebacterium (it includes diphtheria bacterium). Earlier in 2010, researchers from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the United States discovered 1.32 thousand bacterial colonies on 27 door handles at the university campus.


Concerning microorganisms in bed, then in most cases pillowcases weremore skin bacteria were found than intestinal or fecal bacteria. This is good news, but we must not forget that fecal microbes are everywhere and constantly spread. This is facilitated by a large number of people who do not wash their hands after using the toilet. In more detail about what problems this threatens humanity, I wrote in this article.

This is how a dust mite looks under a microscope

But the results of the 2016 study are not sooptimistic: as it turned out, over 5-8 years of use of the mattress, at least 45 kg of skin horny scales accumulate in it, and this is not to mention fungal spores and dust mites.


Kitchen bacteria, in turn, were 40% related toplants or products. Let me remind you that earlier scientists calculated that 200 times more microbes live on the surface of wooden cutting boards than on the rim of the toilet bowl. What bacteria do you think is living in your home? We will wait for the answer here!

The results of another study showed that dishwashing sponges are a real biological weapon, if not change them once a week: due to high humidity and constant contact withthe remains of food in the pores of foam sponges form whole colonies of microorganisms. Moreover, in a study by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), 86% of sponges and rags tested positive for yeast and mold. E. coli was found in 75% of the samples, another 18% - staphylococcus aureus.

It is possible that your malaise may be caused by domestic bacteria and microorganisms.

How to deal with germs in the house?

No matter how terribly exciting and exciting it may beto find out exactly which microorganisms live near you and inside you, it is important to understand that the human immune system is a highly developed machine for the destruction of bacteria. Often the body concludes a mutually beneficial truce with microbes from the outside. Biologists suggest that the microbes that colonize us can train and temper the immune system. At the same time, bacterial imbalance can cause autoimmune diseases.

One way or another, so as not to fall preySalmonella, pathogenic E. coli, coronavirus, hepatitis A and other no less pleasant microbes, first of all, you need to wash your hands correctly. Read how to do it right in the fascinating material of Ramis Ganiev. As for cleaning, change the foam sponges for dishes once a week, wooden cutting boards once a month and thoroughly wash the toilet and bathroom.