I’m a gut scientist — here are 10 ways your home is making you sick

Think your house is clean? Think again.

Even seemingly the most spick-and-span of homes are covered in gems — some of which could lead to lasting health issues, according to a gut health expert on TikTok.

Clinician Jordan Haworth revealed the 10 household items that have the most bacteria — things that 70% of people aren’t cleaning enough, he warned followers.

“Getting sick just once is enough to leave you with life-long gut health problems like irritable bowel syndrome,” the expert warned in a recent clip, now with more than 1.1 million views on the app.

Your home is actually filled with thousands of germs, as researchers in a 2015 study demonstrated, identifying more than 9,000 different species of microbes, bacteria and fungus after they surveyed more than 1,200 households.

These are the top 10 offenders in the average household, according to Haworth.

The scientist says shoes should be left outside.
The scientist says shoes should be left outside.


The expert’s first warning starts from the bottom, advising people to take off their shoes before entering their crib — as 45% of shoes tested were found to carry a bacterium called Clostridioides difficile, or C. diff, which can prompt gastrointestinal symptoms and cause colitis.

“Doesn’t matter if your Air Force Ones are dusty or fresh. Always take your shoes off at the front door,” he said.


The household microwave took the next hit, with the expert urging people to clean up spills immediately — lest they risk contaminating the food they’re heating with bacteria like E. coli or salmonella, both of which can sicken the gut and potentially cause serious illness.


Haworth labeled dishcloths “one of the most contaminated things in your home,” mainly due to the fact people use the same one for multiple surfaces, then leave them sopping wet in their sink.

Luckily, there is a somewhat easy solution. “Start by soaking yours in boiling water for around 15 minutes every week,” he said.

Your household items could be making you unwell.
Your household items could be making you unwell.

Coffee machines

Your morning cup of joe didn’t go unscathed in Haworth’s round-up either — with warnings that coffee machines can be a “breeding ground” for bacteria and mold.

“You should flush the system with vinegar and always change the water before use,” he advised.

Chopping boards

Every home needs at least two chopping boards, one for meat and one for everything else, to avoid cross-contamination, Haworth advised.

Furthermore, according to the US Food Safety and Inspection Service, it’s best to discard the chopping board before it gets too worn because the crevices can trap bacteria.

The layout of the fridge is important to the health of it.
The layout of the fridge is important to the health of it.


Break out the cooler and the ice packs, because refrigerators should be deep-cleaned at least once a month, urged Haworth.

“Storing food properly is also important,” he added. “Start with ready-to-eat produce at the top and work your way down by cooking temperature.”

Bath towels

Using the same towel for multiple baths is a big no-no, with the scientist stressing it’s important to have separate towels for showers and washing your hands. The Cleaning Institute recommends throwing towels in the wash after just three uses.

Switches and knobs

Consider washing your hands after the next time you flick a light switch or turn the doorknob — both are covered in bacteria.

Switches are usually somewhat warm thanks to the electrical current they toggle, and, as such, are a perfect breeding ground for germs. According to Lancaster General Health, there can be 217 bacteria per square inch, according to one estimate.

The same is estimated for doorknobs, which don’t get sanitized enough despite the fact that so many (potentially unclean) hands are touching them.

Light switches are dirtier than you think.
Light switches are dirtier than you think.

TV remote controls

The average household television remote control can have up to 20 times more bacteria than your toilet seat, according to research. Yikes.


It’s hard to resist a snuggle with a furry friend, but do wash up soon after. Cats and dogs are known to stick their faces in their butts and in each others’ butts — something humans should avoid.

“Their toys, bowls, food and poo are full of bacteria,” Haworth explains. “And they’ve probably had their face in all of them.”

Some viewers on TikTok were appalled that others need reminding to have good household hygiene. “I don’t know who isn’t cleaning all these basic items! But I clean mine regularly,” wrote one flabbergasted user on the app.

Others thought the list was overboard. “Back in my day we never gave a second thought to all of this claptrap and guess what, I’m still alive,” a skeptic declared.

“I’m not lazy, I’m just testing my immune system,” joked another.