ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - When it comes to some of the germiest places in our home, it's hard to beat the kitchen sink.
Between dirty sponges, food remnants and faucet handles, your sink can be a hotbed for germs like E.coli and Salmonella.
Shannon Evanchec, an environmental engineer and co-founder of TruePani, a Georgia-based water quality and clean tech startup, recommends regularly wiping down your kitchen and bathroom sinks with a bleach-based cleaner.
But, she says, there is one part sinks many people overlook when they're cleaning: the faucet aerator.
"The aerator is the end piece on the faucet," Evanchec says. "Sometimes, we may see black slime growing on the on that. But there is actually screens and components on the inside of that where debris and sediment can build up. And that's not visible to the naked eye."
The aerator helps regulate the flow of water through the faucet, and it acts like a filter.
Evanchec says over time, especially in older homes with outdated plumbing, tiny pieces of grit can get trapped inside the screens of the aerator.
The debris can sometimes change the smell or taste of the water coming through the tap.
But, Evanchec says, that's not the only issue.
"That sediment can actually contain heavy metals that are toxic to our body like lead," she says. "When the flow comes through, it actually has a similar affect to when a cheese grater grates cheese. Water is coming through, and it's pushing those lead particles that are built up into our water."
Evanchec recommends checking your aerator for debris when you deep clean your sink.
You can unscrew it with a wrench or pliers.
"Clean it with dish soap to make sure there is no sediment in it," she says. "Then replace it, and incorporate this into your regular cleaning routines."
Most plumbing experts recommend replacing the faucet aerator ever year.
A new aerator should cost you about $5.