Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

What's cleaner -- a toilet bowl or a kitchen sponge?

Your kitchen sponge may not be as clean as you think it is.
Your kitchen sponge may not be as clean as you think it is.

When you think of your kitchen, you probably dwell on details such as the granite countertops, stainless-steel Viking appliances and a porcelain farmhouse sink. It's doubtful that you let your mind wander off into the dark recesses, where bacteria breeds like bunny rabbits. And we're not just talking under your stove and behind your fridge. That kitchen sponge that you use to clean your drinking glasses and wipe your countertops is a hotbed of bacterial growth.

Bathrooms may seem like one of the dirtier rooms, bacteria-wise, in your household. After all, it's where the most personal business is conducted, and even though it's all flushed away, it just seems like a toilet bowl would have a high bacteria count. And although dust and grime count, it's really the bacteria level that would make something truly dirty, or in its absence, clean.

Several studies have been performed over the years, some of them by cleaning product manufacturers, that have confirmed that the bacteria levels in your bathroom aren't as high as many areas of your home. The clever headlines typically say something about washing dishes in your toilet instead of your kitchen sink. While this isn't something anyone would ever consider, tests show that the toilet is actually cleaner than the kitchen.