Doorknobs, faucet handles, pet toys and sponges. What do they have in common? Germs just LOVE them.

Whether we’re at home or on a travel nursing assignment, travel nurses are in a constant struggle to stay healthy.

We don’t recommend living in fear of microbes. No one wants to turn into Howard Hughes. Or Howie Mandel for that matter. But for those in the healthcare profession, hygiene does take priority. According to CBS News, here are a few of the germiest places in our homes – healthwise:

Worst place to set your handbag: The kitchen counter

Innocent handbag Your fancy handbag is a swell mode of transport for germs: A woman’s purse gets parked in some nasty spots: on the subway floor, beneath the restaurant table— even on the linoleum of a public restroom. Put your bag in a drawer or on a chair, anywhere except where food is prepared or eaten.

Worst place for your sneakers and flip-flops: In the bedroom closet

Shoe fly, shoo Well, basically, anywhere that’s not just inside the front door. Walking through your house in “outdoor” shoes brings allergens and contaminants inside. Store shoes in a basket or under an entryway bench. If you must hide your shoes away in the bedroom, carry them there.

Worst place for your toothbrush: On the bathroom sink

Toothbrushes lie in wait There’s nothing wrong with the bathroom counter — but it’s awfully chummy with the toilet. When you flush, airborne toilet funk is propelled as far as 6 feet, settling on the floor, the sink, and your toothbrush. Ick. Best place for the toothbrush: in a nearby cabinet. Click here for more interesting tips on how to sanitize a toothbrush.

Worst place to set fruit before washing it: The kitchen sink

Veggies near the sink -- eek Of all the household germ farms, the sink sees the most bacterial activity, even more than the bathroom. The Food and Drug Administration recommends washing raw fruits and vegetables very well before you peel, cut, eat, or cook them. (Guess what cleaned most produce better than bottled sprays, according to the FDA? Plain old distilled water. )

The best thing you can do to prevent the spread of germs is good hand washing with soap and water — but you knew that already. The way you wash your hands is much more important than what you wash with.

Flexible cutting matsThe kitchen (and its sponge) is one of the germiest places in your house. Disposable kitchen wipes are an alternative to sponges, as are washable cloths. After food prep, remember to clean your countertop, utensils, cutting boards (use separate cutting boards for meat, fish, poultry and produce). We like flexible cutting mats like these: lightweight, reasonably priced and easy to stow away. Wash kitchen surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item. And make sure you use a clean towel to dry off.

There is much debate about using products containing bleach, antibacterial cleansers or “green” cleaners. Whatever you choose, check the labels; many products advise leaving the cleansers on the surface for several minutes before wiping clean.

While we try not to get carried away with our cleaning rituals, we do derive some comfort from doing things the same way when we’re on a travel nursing job. Just one more way to make our new accommodations feel like home.