Everyday items swarming with germs - the good and the bad

They might seem innocuous, but every day items like reading glasses can be a hotbed for germs, some of which can be dangerous. 

Microbiologist and nominated New Zealander of the year Dr Siouxsie Wiles told the AM show that germs or "microbes" are everywhere, on our hands and in the air. 

Basic hygene such as washing your hands will keep most bad germs at bay. 

Dr Wiles pointed out a few everyday items that are covered in both good and bad bacteria.


Fridges and dishwashers

Fridges and dishewashers were a common breading ground for bacteria, she said.  

"Dishwashers are those amazing places that are hot and all this stuff is going on and they have things growing on the seals."

She said the important thing with dishwashers was when they were not in use leave them open to dry out. 



Reading glasses were another everyday item covered in germs, she said. 

"There will be the microbes from our fingers...there will be stuff from behind our ears."


Dog toys and pets water bowls

Microbes can be passed on when you pick up a pet's toy - but they are not all bad, she said. 

She said microbes were everywhere.

"From all sort of amazing microbes in their mouth and of course picking up from the soil and stuff," Dr Wiles said.

Pet's water bowls were another item covered in germs, she recommended people give these items a good scrub regularly to keep them clean. 

Dr Wise said having an animal is good for our immune systems and we should respect all bacteria. 

"The point is organisms are everywhere.

"We should have a healthy respect for microbes because there are really dangerous ones but there also really important in training our immune system not to attack ourselves."

So how do you make sure you get all the good germs and get rid of the bad ones? 

Dr Wiles says you can't, but their are a few simple things people can do reduce the risk of contamination like regularly washing your hands and giving items a good scrub to keep them clean.  

"They [bacteria] often live in these sticky communities called biofilims and are quite tricky to get off, so you really need to give them a good scrub."