The List of the 10 Dirtiest Everyday Items May Surprise You
The ick factor is real
We can thank our lucky stars for our body’s high resistance...up to a point. When given a chance to decide, of course, we’d rather not expose ourselves to disease-causing bacteria. Unfortunately it’s difficult to determine which items carry them given that germs are invisible to the naked eye. But this isn’t one of those times the “out of sight, out of mind” rule applies. The flu and tuberculosis should not be taken lightly; same goes for e. coli and salmonella. What about Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans? Do these sound far too complicated to be common? Wrong. The folks at Buzzfeed found these on the cellphones of their officemates when they did a swab test.
If we knew which everyday items were truly the dirtiest, then we wouldn’t function the way we do now with things like light switches or the cars we drive or, again, our cellphones.
Because when the subject of dirtiest item is brought up, what first comes to mind is the toilet (obviously, since it’s the thing that gets in contact with about a hundred asses a day). However here, we uncover the unsuspecting everyday items that may be far dirtier than that.
The key is to regularly disinfect. Where to begin, you ask? Keep scrolling to find out!
#1: Light Switch
This is germ hotspot #1: A light switch can contain up to 217 bacteria per square inch and should be wiped down with a disinfectant solution and a cleaning cloth every two weeks.
#2: Kitchen Sponge
Ah yes, there is some irony here. That thing you douse in dishwashing soap and use to clean your plates, pots, pans and glassware is teeming with bacteria. According to Good Housekeeping, you can sanitize your kitchen sponge by soaking it in a solution of three quarters of a cup of bleach and one gallon of water. Ideally, kitchen sponges should be replaced after just a couple of days, yikes!
#3: Laptop Keyboard
That trusty laptop of yours may be home to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus.
People are hardly ever without their phones and this is precisely why this gadget—that gets in contact with your face when you take calls—may contain 9,000 times more germs than a toilet seat. Make sure to wipe down your mobile phone using a microfiber cloth with diluted alcohol once a week.
#5: Electronic ID Badge
A team at CBT Nuggets once conducted a swab test to see which of the common office items carried the most germs and found that the employee’s electronic ID badge contained 243 times more bacteria then a germ-filled pet toy. This one was by far the dirtiest.
#6: Door Knob
To put things into perspective: Professor of Environmental Microbiology at the University of Arizona Chuck Gerba, PhD says “door handles actually have the least bacteria of any surface in public restrooms [since] 68% of people wash their hands before leaving the restroom.” But that’s assuming everybody washes their hands thoroughly.
#7: Gear Stick
A 2014 study conducted by Aston University director of Biology and Biomedical Science Anthony Hilton found that “the gear stick is home to approximately 356 different germs.” So remember to store antibacterial wipes in one of your car’s compartments!
In 2002, the Southern Medical Journal conducted tests and found: “pathogens—including staphylococcus—on 94% of dollar bills tested. Paper money can reportedly carry more germs than a household toilet. And bills are a hospitable environment for gross microbes: viruses and bacteria can live on most surfaces for about 48 hours, but paper money can reportedly transport a live flu virus for up to 17 days.”
#9: Bathroom Towels
Moisture is the enemy and the breeding ground for bacteria, so imagine that bathroom towel of yours hanging on a hook and taking hours to dry up. Yup, it’s an instant hotbed for bacteria and mildew. Make sure to leave your towels laid out to dry and send them to the laundry for washing after three uses.
Oh the places the handbag can go: as you sit in a cab, leave it to rest on a restaurant table, sometimes place it on the floor.
And back to more swab tests: "We found fecal bacteria you normally find on the floor of restroom," said Microbiologist Chuck Gerba. "We found bacteria that can cause skin infections on the bottom of purses. What's more amazing is the large numbers we find on the bottom of purses, which indicates that they can be picking up a lot of other germs like cold viruses or viruses that cause diarrhea."