Secret Swab Test...Around the house - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Secret Swab Test...Around the house

Stefeni Kennedy is like most people.

"I try to keep a pretty clean house," she says.

In fact, her house may be cleaner than most.  Stefeni cleans for a living.  But she's always been concerned about the health of her son Christopher.

"He's allergic to molds, mildews, anything like that can trigger his asthma," says Stefeni.

Stefeni watched our secret swabs dig up dirt on dozens of surfaces.  She wanted to know what might be hiding in her house.

"I just wanted to make sure I was doing the best I could to help with my son and his allergies," says Stefeni.

She realized her livelihood was on the line.

"Hopefully, my clients won't watch if things are dirty," says Stefeni.

We brought a handful of sterile sponges to Stefeni's house and started in the kitchen.  From counter-tops to the range, refrigerator to dinner table, nothing was safe from our swabbing.

We moved into the bathroom next, hitting the sink, shower, and yes, the toilet.  Using yet another sponge, we swabbed things in the living room.  Those included the light switch, coffee table, even a candy jar.  A dirty remote control is something she never considered.

The controller to her son's gaming system also got a good swabbing.

"What do you hope we find?" asks Reporter Jason Miles.  "nothing!" replies Stefeni.

As usual, we left that to Microbiologist Connie Cook.  She takes the sponges, collects a sample, and grows bacteria on Petri dishes.  What grew from Stefeni's samples was encouraging.  There were only trace amounts of potentially harmful E-Coli and Coliforms, which come from fecal matter.  Results for Salmonella, which lives in raw meats, were negative.  Tests revealed some Yeast and Mold, but no alarming amounts.

"I would consider these normal background levels of bacteria that would not affect an average person," says Cook.

She suggests using a little more bleach or anti-bacterial cleaner to get levels even lower.  We went back to Stefeni's house with the results.  She was curious about exactly what our swabs exposed.

"For what have you been hoping?" asks Jason.  "No germs or anything," replies Stefeni.

We explained to her that no significant levels of harmful bacteria were living in her house.

"I'm excited," says Stefeni.  "Makes me feel better for my son's health, and my health actually," she adds.

You never know what our secret swab test might turn up.  Often things get pretty ugly.  But it provided Stefeni with a little peace of mind.  She's glad she E-mailed Channel 5. 

"I'm extremely glad," says Stefeni.

She's glad her house is clean and that she can keep her day job cleaning houses.


For more information on household cleaning tips, visit the following links:


If you have a suggestion for a Secret Swabs report, email it to secretswabs@wmctv.com.

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