EVERYDAY ITEMS DIRTIER THAN A TOILET SEAT
If you’re like me, you’ve heard numerous scientists claiming certain items are “dirtier than a toilet seat”. I was starting to wonder if my toilet seat was the cleanest place in my house, so I did a little research.
A decision I am starting to regret. Gulp.
These surfaces have more germs than the average toilet seat, AND you’ve likely already touched at least one of them today!
Your clean laundry
A load of underwear will transfer at least 100 million E. coli bacteria to the washing machine, which becomes a breeding ground that can contaminate other clothing. With a front-loading machine, it’s worse; water settles at the bottom and creates the moist environment bacteria loves. Your toilet seat, on the other hand, is too dry to support a very large bacterial population.
Disinfect your machine by washing a load of whites with bleach first, or clean your washer with bleach at least once a month (pour two cups of bleach into the detergent compartment, and run empty on the hottest cycle before wiping dry; leave the door open after)
Your cutting board
The average cutting board has 200 times more fecal bacteria than a toilet seat. A big culprit: raw meat, since many fecal bacteria originate in animals’ internal organs. The tiny grooves your knife left in the cutting board are prime real estate for germs to get cozy.
Wash plastic cutting boards with liquid dish detergent and water, then soak thoroughly in a solution of two teaspoons of bleach and a gallon of water. For wooden boards, do the same but use two tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water. Don’t soak overnight.
Your pet’s food bowl
One of the home’s dirtiest surfaces could be your pet’s trusty kibble dish. The inside rim of his unclean dish contains 2,110 bacteria per square inch. A toilet seat, has about 295 bacteria per square inch.
To keep pets healthy, wash all food bowls after every meal with hot water and soap, or combine baking soda, warm water, and salt in equal parts and scrub the surface in circles before rinsing. If you don’t, bacteria will multiply on the leftover residue of your pet’s slobber and food bits, a little like if you used the same fork every day without washing it.
Your smartphone or tablet
According to the Daily Mail, phones are more than six times dirtier than toilet seats. 50 phones were swabbed for germs. The average phone had 1,479 “bacteria hot spots,” compared to 220 on toilet seats. A leather phone case/wallet was the biggest offender, carrying 17 times more germs than the toilet. One third of people admit to using their phones while using the toilet.
Reduce your exposure to germs by cleaning your electronic screens with screen wipes or a damp, soft cloth—and leaving them out of the bathroom in the first place.
Bacteria love munching on dead skin cells. Considering that the average person sheds about 1.5 million every hour, that turns your rugs into a fine dining experience. About 200,000 bacteria live in each square inch of carpet (nearly 700 times more than on your toilet seat), including E. coli, staphylococcus, and salmonella.
Since your vacuum cleaner can’t reach to the bottom of the carpet, hire a company to deep clean at least once a year.
Your faucet handles
Your bathroom faucet handle can have 21 times the bacteria of your toilet seat. Even worse—your kitchen faucet handles can harbour 44 times the bacteria of your toilet seat. Drains are moist and protected from your usual cleaning products, and drug-resistant bacteria like E. coli can spread from the pipes to your sink and hands.
Disinfect and clean regularly along with the rest of your sink to make sure washing your hands isn’t making you dirtier.
Your computer keyboard
Clicking away at your computer in between bites of lunch may have led to the last “office bug” you picked up. When British researchers swabbed 33 keyboards in a London office, they found that they harboured up to five times the germs of a toilet seat.
Wash hands, and surfaces, often.
The average handbag is three times dirtier than an office toilet seat. Handbags used regularly were 10 times dirtier. Handles carried the most bacteria, but even items inside the bag were grimy—hand and face creams were the dirtiest, along with lipstick and gloss. Stomach flu viruses have been traced back to reusable grocery bags, too.
Keep your bags off the ground, and regularly wash cloth bags when possible. For plastic or leather bags, use disinfectant wipes.
Your kitchen cloth or sponge
Not only are sponges dirtier than your toilet seat, but they’re dirtier than just about any other item in your house! Researchers found an insane 45 billion microbes per square centimetre on used kitchen sponges.
Each week, toss dishcloths in the washing machine and sponges in the dishwasher, or heat in the microwave (while damp) for 30 seconds. Replace sponges every other week or so.
Your TV remote
It may surprise you, but your channel changer is surprisingly germy. Anything that’s been on your hands before you started surfing collects on your remote. Not to mention, your remote collects dust sitting on your couch, gets sat on, and may even have crumbs on it, if you eat in front of the TV. Grime can get stuck in the nooks and crannies between the buttons, so cleaning it can be a challenge.
Every now and then, wipe down your remote using a bit of dish soap or an antiseptic wipe. Make sure to get in between the buttons. This should also be the first thing you do when you enter a hotel room (remember those?), but that’s a whole other Blog!
A recent study found that a whopping 71 per cent of gas pumps contained some type of bacterial contaminant.
If you don’t want to wipe down the pump before you use it, definitely keep hand sanitizer in your car so that you can bust any germs you may have picked up while filling up. Or consider wearing gloves to shield yourself from the
A University of Toronto study found that elevator buttons in public spaces like office buildings and hospitals could be harbouring more germs than toilet seats.
If you’re not in the mood to wipe down all the elevator buttons, that’s fair. But you’ll probably want to wash, or at least sanitize, your hands once you’ve reached your floor.
Refrigerator vegetable and meat compartments were the top two spots in the kitchen with the most disease-causing microorganisms. Any unwrapped veggies or escaped meat juices could leave behind dangerous germs.
Empty your fridge drawers, then pull them out of your fridge. Give them a good scrub with warm, soapy water
Hopefully, you’re replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, but when was the last time you cleaned out its holder? Investigators found that toothbrush holders were the dirtiest item in the bathroom. About 27 per cent of toothbrush holders showed signs of coliform, compared to 5 per cent of toilet seats.
Rinse an empty toothbrush holder in hot water, then scrub with a soapy, small-bristled brush. Rinse well and let it dry before putting your toothbrushes back.
You probably clean the coffee pot, but give the WHOLE MACHINE a deep clean every once in a while. Coffee reservoirs where you pour water are even dirtier than toilet seats and toilet handles!
Leaving the reservoir open when you’re done making coffee will help clear out the moisture germs love. Every now and then, clean the reservoir by filling it with equal parts water and vinegar. Turn on the machine so the vinegar cleans the carafe, plus eliminates mineral buildup in the machine’s pipes. Once the pot is done, “brew” a pot of plain water to eliminate any traces of vinegar.
Now the good news! Many of areas (especially public ones) are a lot cleaner than they were before the pandemic. Most of us are using debit more and have stopped handling cash (don’t get me started on paper money!). We’re all getting used to wiping down surfaces and sanitizing our hands. We just have to make sure we keep it that way!
As for me, I’m heading home immediately to deep-clean my carpet!