It’s no surprise that we live in a germ-infested world. Whether you’re on the subway, in a public restroom or in the office, we know which items to steer clear of to avoid germs. However, you may not realize just how many germs are on some of the household objects you and your family touch every day.
The unfortunate truth is that we all tend to be more careful about the things we touch out in the world than when we are at home because it seems like they’d be far more germy. However, the opposite tends to be true as a direct result of the fact that we just assume our homes and offices are cleaner than the subways and grocery stores. This misconception, of course, leads to regular illness, but there is a way to combat it, and it starts with recognizing the dirtiest things you touch on a daily basis.
1. The kitchen sink
Believe it or not, the sink is dirtier than your entire bathroom. According to 2008 research that was published in The Journal of Microbiology, the average sink contains 100,000 bacteria per square centimeter, compared to the average toilet’s 100 bacteria per square centimeter. That news probably had you running for your Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, right?
2. Your toothbrush
According to research done by the American Society of Microbiology, about 60 percent of toothbrushes have fecal matter on them. This is because most people put them near the three-foot “splash zone” of the toilet, and every time someone flushes, microscopic bacteria jumps into the air and onto the surrounding surfaces, aka the thing you put in your mouth.
3. Kitchen sponge
If your sink’s that gross, you know your kitchen sponge can’t be far behind. Dr. Philip Tierno, a professor at NYU Langone says bacteria can get lodged in the little nooks and crannies of your sponge and more grows every 20 minutes that the sponge is not in use. You can combat this by sterilizing your sponges regularly in boiling water.
4. Ear buds
If you’re the only person who uses them, you’re probably OK, but there’s a surprising amount of bacteria in your ears. So if you think your kid might be sharing his ear buds with friends at school, give him a second pair that’s just for him to lessen the chance of passing germs.
5. Washing machines
Prepare yourself for this one. Even if it’s your own private washing machine, every time you wash a load of underwear in cold water and take it out, you’re touching about 100 million E. coli. The only way to kill these germs is to wash everything in hot water and/or bleach. However, if you don’t want all your clothes to be teeny, just wash your hands after throwing everything in the dryer (the heat will kill the rest of the germs)
6. Computer keyboard
Anyone who lives in the modern world of computers will love this. Computer keyboards have 7,500 bacteria per Q-tip swab, which is about 2,000 more than the average toilet. And what’s grosser is we touch our face with our hands that have been interacting with said keyboard 16 times an hour.
7. Car seats
It’s almost too hard to tell you this. According to a recent study, the average car seat has more than 100 different strains of bacteria per square centimeter, and that includes salmonella and E. coli.
8. Cell phones
And, of course, there’s the thing you probably touch most — your cell phone. Studies say your cell phone has 10 times more bacteria on it than the average toilet seat at any given time. And we put that on our faces, people.
This post was sponsored by Clorox. All stories and opinions are that of the author.