Where does indoor air bacteria come from?

Researchers from University of California, Berkeley, set out to find the main sources for bacteria in the air in our homes.

They analysed 29 homes in the San Francisco Bay area by taking samples from places such as kitchen surfaces, carpets and toilets, and found that the sources or indoor bacteria were:

The reason that floors and carpets holds a top position on the list is that walking on a carpet or vacuuming stirs up a great amount of bacteria and releases it into the surrounding air.

One thing that surprised the researchers was that tap water is such a main source for bacteria. They are not sure how germs from our drinking water is released into the air to such a high extent.

The researchers had originally wondered whether flushing a toilet could contribute to spreading bacteria from faeces into the air, but (luckily) found that only 0.04 per cent of microbes could be traced back to this source.

The study also reveals that the number of bacteria increased significantly in homes that were ventilated frequently.

Top tip: If you remove your shoes before you enter your home, you have a good chance of stopping some of the germs from getting inside and being released into your indoor air.

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