Yuck! 9 Super Germy Surfaces That Can Make You Sick
You may think you're doing all you can at home to steer clear of germs and keep your space spic and span, but you can’t control the germs you come in contact with when you leave the house. And let’s face it: you come in contact with a lot of surfaces each and every time you go out. Avoid getting sick this season and do what you can to watch out for germs on these bacteria-infested surfaces.
Bathroom Door Handles
It goes without saying a public washroom is going to be germy. Countless people use them and you never know which ones are washing their hands, or what gets transferred to door handles each time they’re touched. Avoid picking up germs after you leave the restroom by opening the door with a piece of tissue. Will this make you look like you’re afraid of germs? Yes. But you can take comfort in knowing you’re taking an extra step towards staying healthy.
When was the last time you saw anyone clean an ATM machine? Sure, they get filled up and undergo maintenance if they break down, but no one comes around to disinfect them, at least not regularly. This means that with so many people touching an ATM machine each day and little to no cleaning going on in between, you end up with a breeding ground for germs. Wash your hands after using an ATM machine, and if you’re on the go, keep alcohol wipes in your purse and clean your hands once you grab your cash.
Unless they’re written on a chalkboard or printed on paper that gets tossed and replaced with each table setting, think about the amount of hands touching a menu each day. Since the likelihood of menus being sanitized at the end of each night is minimal, their chances of them being covered in germs climbs sky-high. Try and avoid letting your menu touch your plate or silverware and wash your hands once you’ve placed your order.
If you thought regular public restrooms were germy, the ones on airplanes are much worse. First of all, tiny sinks can lead to inadequate hand washing which can mean germs end up on faucets and door handles. In addition, a small space getting used by so many people and not getting frequently sanitized in between uses, creates an environment where germs thrive. The force of the flush can also cause bacteria and virus-laden water droplets to enter the air. Close the lid before you flush, wash your hands well, and handle all surfaces (toilet seat, faucet, door handle) with a paper towel.
Grocery Cart Handles
Doing your grocery shopping each week can put you in contact with a plethora of germs if you use a cart or even a basket. The handles of each pass through many hands with zero washing in between uses so the potential is there for germs to be transferred to you. Wipe down shopping cart and basket handles with an alcohol wipe before you start shopping and do the same with your hands once you’ve paid and left.
Hotel Room Remotes
One thing that doesn’t get cleaned as often as other surfaces in hotel rooms is the TV remote. If they’re getting handled, dropped, and sneezed on but not regularly sanitized, they’re harbouring germs you can easily pick up. Before you start flipping through the channels, wipe down the remote with an alcohol wipe, or stick it in an unused Ziploc bag so you aren’t touching it to change channels, and wash your hands after you handle it.
Chances are, at one point or another you’ve sneezed or coughed on your keyboard, eaten over top of it, or used your keyboard without first washing your hands. All of this can turn your keyboard into one of the germiest surfaces. So how do you clean up your computer use? First off, try to avoid eating over your keyboard so crumbs and food debris don’t get trapped amongst the keys. Next, wash your hands before and after you use your computer. If you do happen to eat a sandwich with one hand while typing with the other, shake out your keyboard once you’re finished and even vacuum lightly if you see noticeable crumbs. Wipe down the keyboard with an antibacterial or alcohol wipe at the end of the day and especially if you’ve been sneezing while working at your computer.
Despite the fact we use toothbrushes to clean our teeth, they make an ideal surface for germs. Bacteria thrive in a damp environment and since toothbrushes often get put away when they’re damp, that can lead to bacteria growth. Not to mention, even after rinsing your toothbrush, food particles can remain, which can also promote bacteria growth. Scientists have also found that flushing the toilet can send water droplets into the air that are contaminated with bacteria and viruses, which can land on–you guessed it–your toothbrush. Avoid toothbrush germs by allowing your toothbrush to dry out after each use, replacing your toothbrush often, keeping your toothbrush away from the toilet, and closing the toilet lid before you flush.
Sponges are one of the worst offenders when it comes to harbouring germs. In fact, a 2011 study conducted by NSF International found that kitchen sponges and dish rags were the germiest items in most homes. This is because if they’re not sanitized properly after using them to clean dishes and countertops, they can become a breeding ground for germs. Replace your sponges often (every 10 to 12 days), and sanitize sponges daily by putting them (wet) in the microwave for two minutes once a day. Just be careful when you take it out since it will be hot.