As summer draws to a close and school begins, indoor activity is bound to pick up. With this change in seasons and schedules, its important to recognize the household areas that harbor germ breeding grounds. Extended contact with family and friends in close quarters mean their exposure to viruses and germs will skyrocket. See what you can do to minimize the chances that your loved ones will fall into the seasonal sickness cycle.

1. The Kitchen
Between the scrubber sponge and the damp dish towel, you have the makings of an efficient germ factory. One that can multiply and spread with the repeated usage of these items. Don't let the dish towel stay wadded up in the counter corner. Instead hang it on a rack to air dry. Try not to use the same towel to dry dishes and wipe the counter. The sponge scrubber should be rinsed and squeezed after each use. An occasional quick zap with the microwave, until the scrubber steams, is an effective germ killer.

2. The Bathroom
You might think guys leaving the toilet seat up is bad manners, but what happens when the whole toilet seat is left uncovered? Remember to close the lid when you flush. Flushing stirs up toilet bowl germs and bacteria which then become airborne. Do you really want to be inhaling this stuff while you brush your teeth? Speaking of your toothbrush, giving it a quick spray of hydrogen peroxide and letting it air dry will do the trick for a cleaner healthier brush.

3. The Carpet
Your carpet may look clean, but you might be surprised what you'll find on a closer examination. Come on down and sneak a peek. What do you see? Okay there's pet dander from kitty. Maybe a few minute bugs feasting on Dorito crumbs. Dead skin from the children's bare feet? Whatever it is, now is the time for a thorough end-of-summer carpet steaming and shampooing.

4. The Basement
The moist heavy air of the basement is a perfect breeding spot for molds and germs. Heating some Eucalyptus or Rosemary essential oil not only smells good but will also destroy bacteria coming off that litter box. Now is also a good time to change your furnace filter.

5. The Bedroom
You've probably heard the news. Bedbugs are back and showing no mercy. Now maybe you're lucky to have escaped their onslaught, but why tempt fate? When laundering sheets and pillow cases be sure to run the drying cycle for at least 45 minutes. This should cook any stubborn bugs or mites. Last but not least, open the windows. The cool fall breezes will work wonders in clearing out the stagnant air that contributes to your home's germ factory.