The toilet seat has gotten so much flak for being the dirtiest part of the house or building. It may be a direct recipient of fecal matter, but in reality, there are many other things dirtier than the common loo. Many of them are breeding bacteria next to you as you read this. Be warned, CGs, this list may cause germophobia!
1. Handheld gadgets
An investigation done by Yahoo Tech revealed that gadget repair shops often find crud, such as metal shavings, construction dust, tobacco leaves, and green slime inside mobile phones. But why stop at cellphones? Other handheld electronic devices such as tablets and TV remotes are covered in 10 times more disease-causing bacteria than toilet seats [via Medical Daily].
What now: Clean your gadgets daily using these tips. Keep a pack of wipes near the TV area to remind you to wipe the remote control regularly.
The average living room carpet contains about 200,000 bacteria per square inch, making it 4,000 times dirtier than your toilet seat. [via Men’s Health]
What now: Aside from regular vacuuming, have your carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned twice a year, especially if you have kids in the house.
Flushing the toilet can spray aerosolized droplets that can reach up to 20 feet, said Philip Tierno Jr., Ph.D., author of The Secret Life of Germs. The guys at Mythbusters also confirmed that fecal matter is found in the average person’s toothbrush.
What now: Store your toothbrush in a closet cabinet in your bathroom, or soak your toothbrush in a mouthwash that contains cetylpyridinium chloride for 20 minutes a day.
4. Kitchen items
With more than 500,000 bacteria per square inch in the drain alone, kitchen sinks are dirtier than most bathrooms [via Today]. A kitchen cutting board has 200 times more fecal bacteria than a toilet seat, while your kitchen sponge could be harboring 10 million bacteria per square inch—that’s 200,000 times dirtier than your toilet [via Men’s Health].
What now: Google for tips on properly cleaning your kitchen sink and cutting board. As for the sponge, wash it with soap and warm water, and then nuke it in the microwave for about two minutes to kill the germs. Make sure the sponge is wet before you hit “start” and you don’t microwave metal sponges.
5. Your boyfriend’s beard
A swab test done on men’s beards showed that they contained various amounts of bacteria that are normally found in fecal matter.
What now: Make sure your man maintains good hygiene or risk spreading bacteria and illness through his hipster scruff.
6. Computer keyboard
A British study concluded that keyboards contain almost five times more bacteria than that found on a toilet seat. We haven’t even discussed the keyboards at public internet cafés yet. DOTA, anyone?
What now: Clean and disinfect your keyboards daily. Disinfect the mouse and mouse pad while you’re at it. After using someone else’s computer, especially at internet cafés, apply lots of hand sanitizer. Avoid eating at your office desk. The little crumbs and food particles that fall into the crevices are hard to remove.
7. Tiny knobs and buttons
We’re talking about unsuspecting doorknobs, faucet handles, grocery cart handles, light switches, elevator buttons, ATM buttons, and all other public electronic machines that thousands of unknown hands graze daily. A bathroom faucet handle has 21 times more bacteria than a toilet seat [via Reader’s Digest], while 97 percent of elevator buttons in offices and residential buildings are contaminated with disease-causing germs [via Men’s Health].
What now: Apply hand sanitizer after touching public light switches, knobs, and buttons. When cleaning your house, make sure you also disinfect the switches and other tiny spots often neglected.
8. Restaurant menus
Ever wondered why restaurant menus feel sticky and slimy? While restaurant employees are trained to wipe the table regularly, they often forget to disinfect the menu, giving it 100 times more bacteria than a typical toilet seat [via Business Insider].
What now: Apply hand sanitizer after handling the menu, or better yet, excuse yourself from the table to wash your hands right before you eat.
Your favorite bag carries your car keys, money, mobile phone, kikay kit, and other personal items on the daily. On top of that, you hang it on the hook of a public toilet, place it on the MRT seat, and leave it on the floor when there's nowhere to put it. Research found that the average handbag is three times dirtier than an office toilet seat. The dirtiest part of the common handbag? Not the bottom, as we originally suspected, but the handle!
What now: Keep your bag off public bathroom counters—or pull off a #TitasOfManila move by lining the counter with a paper towel before parking your bag. Avoid placing your bag on your bed at the end of a long day. Use disinfectant wipes for leather and plastic bags. Use a bag hook.
10. Car steering wheel
If you let other people drive your car, like your driver and family members, then you’re all exchanging the germs your hands accumulated throughout the day. According to a study by Mirror, the public toilet is home to 80 bacteria for every square inch and a half. Now imagine 700 of them breeding on your steering wheel, gear stick, and back seat. The germ risk is higher if you like to eat in your car and leave litter (like used tissue paper) inside.
What now: Aside from a regular carwash, have the insides of your car cleaned. Keep a stash of wipes and make it a habit to disinfect your steering wheel and other grimy sections before driving away.