Prepare for the worst
By Sunshine Menefee
When you think about the dirtiest, germiest place in your house, the bathroom often comes to mind. The toilet in particular. There are a lot of gross things and mishaps that go on around it and it is no fun to clean. But you may be missing other major bacteria breeding grounds. As it turns out, the toilet may not be so dirty after all. What, you ask, could be nastier than the potty? Keep reading to find out….
1. Your Cellphone and Tablet
Whether you want to believe it or not, your cellphone is teeming with more nasty microbes than a toilet. Let that sink in. Touching a public toilet seat would be less hazardous than putting your phone to your face. When was the last time you cleaned your phone? Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute recommends wiping your phone every couple of days with alcohol pads to keep the germs at bay.
2. Your Desk
You sit in front of your computer for several hours a day, but how often do you think about sanitizing it? Socializing with coworkers exposes you to more germs that then get transferred to the keyboard. Germs love to hang out in warm little crevices and that computer is just right. Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist, has found, “four hundred times more bacteria on a desktop that we do on most toilet seats.” Wipe your desk down once a week with a disinfecting wipe.
3. Elevator Buttons
With hundreds of people using these every day, it’s not wonder that the buttons on a lift are 40 times dirtier than the commode. Millions of germs are hanging out on these buttons. The next time you need to use the elevator, use your elbow or gloved hand to touch the buttons.
4. The Kitchen Sponge
Bacteria thrive in arm, moist environments so a kitchen sponge is the perfect place to reside. Salmonella, E. coli, Staphylococcus, and Listeria are just a few of the little devils that can hang out up to 48 hours. “Always the dirtiest thing by far is the kitchen sponge,” says John Oxford, professor of virology at the University of London and chair of the Hygiene Council. Sanitize your sponge by wetting it and popping it in the microwave or running it through the dishwasher on a sanitize option.
5. Cutting Boards
Simply rinsing the cutting board after you use is not good enough. U.K. based research suggests “that 14% of all food borne illnesses may be due to inadequately cleaned cutting boards and knives.” Those are completely preventable by soaking in a bleach solution according to Sharon Franke, director of the Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.
6. Your Purse
Think about all the things you touch before you put your hand in your purse. All those germs get transferred to the contents inside to make this one nasty space. The Initial Washroom Hygiene, a hygiene company in the U.K., found “one in five handbag handles was home to levels of bacteria-related contamination.” The single dirtiest item? Hand lotion. So empty out your purse and wipe everything down with a disinfecting or alcohol wipe.
Money touches many hands throughout its’ life and never gets cleaned. Gross. A single dollar bill “carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface,” including bacteria that hangs out in the vagina. The best line of defense? Wash your hands!
So the moral of the story? Bacteria are everywhere. But stop giving the toilet seat a bad rap. Yes, it might have some gross germs, but it gets cleaned often. Don’t get paralyzed with fear. Keep the things your touch and use everyday safe by giving them the wipe down every couple of days.