10 Everyday Objects That Harbor Germs

01
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10 Everyday Objects That Harbor Germs

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Germs can survive on TV remote surfaces for several hours. GK Hart/Vikki Hart/The Image Bank/Getty Images

10 Everyday Objects That Harbor Germs

Bacteria, viruses, and other germs are everywhere. They are on your skin and even inside of you. Germs are on everyday objects that you encounter in your house, at the store, or on your way to work. We may not give some of these items a second thought, but should probably consider how many germs actually live on them. Discover 10 common objects some people use every day that are hot beds for germs.

1. Germs on Your TV Remote

Most people don't consider their TV remote to be a potential vehicle for the transfer of bacteria and viruses. This item is used every day and touched by many hands that may be contaminated with food, mucous, fecal matter, urine, or dirt. Remotes are often dropped on the floor, lost in the couch, or end up in the mouth of the family pet. Germs can survive on TV remote surfaces for several hours. With that in mind, it is essential that your TV remote be cleaned often with alcohol-free disinfectant wipes. Don't forget about cleaning those TV remotes in hotels, hospitals, or other public areas before touching them. Washing and drying your hands after using a TV remote can also prevent the spread of germs.

 

  1. Germs on Your TV Remote
  2. Microbes on Your Handbag/Wallet
  3. Pathogens on Your Cell Phone
  4. Kitchen Sponge Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat
  5. Bugs on Your Shopping Cart
  6. How Dirty Is Your Toothbrush?
  7. Contagions at the Gas Pump
  8. Mailboxes Deliver Disease
  9. Bacteria on Contact Lenses
  10. Bacteria on Your Flight
02
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10 Everyday Objects That Harbor Germs

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A UK study found that handbags were contaminated with more bacteria than a toilet seat. Kiyoshi Noguchi/Moment Open/Getty Images

2. Microbes on Your Handbag or Wallet

It seems our purses or wallets carry more than our money. A British study found that handbags were contaminated with more bacteria than a toilet seat. These items become contaminated as bacteria or viruses are transferred to them through contact with things in the environment. Germs can be transferred from our hands to our purses or wallets. Women also tend to place purses on floors or on the ground. Germs from money can contaminate the inside of a wallet or handbag. In order to reduce bacteria on these items, it is recommended that you wash your hands regularly and clean your handbags or wallets with antibacterial wipes.

 

  1. Germs on Your TV Remote
  2. Microbes on Your Handbag/Wallet
  3. Pathogens on Your Cell Phone
  4. Kitchen Sponge Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat
  5. Bugs on Your Shopping Cart
  6. How Dirty Is Your Toothbrush?
  7. Contagions at the Gas Pump
  8. Mailboxes Deliver Disease
  9. Bacteria on Contact Lenses
  10. Bacteria on Your Flight
03
of 10

10 Everyday Objects That Harbor Germs

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As many as 1 in 6 cell phones may be contaminated with bacteria. Hocus Focus Studio/E+/Getty Images

3. Pathogens on Your Cell Phone

A study conducted in the United Kingdom has raised some eyebrows concerning hand washing habits. It revealed that one in six mobile phones tested in Britain was contaminated with bacteria from fecal matter. Properly washing and drying your hands is one of the best preventative measures against contracting bacteria related illnesses and other infectious disease. Sixteen percent of phones tested in the study were found to contain E. coli bacteria which are responsible for various stomach and digestive system ailments. The study also revealed that when asked, people were more likely to not be truthful about their hand washing habits. In spite of the fact that 95% of the people reported washing their hands properly, 92% of phones and 82% of hands were found to be contaminated with bacteria. To keep your phone clean it is recommended that you wipe it with alcohol-free disinfectant wipes and remove fingerprints with a microfiber cloth.

 

  1. Germs on Your TV Remote
  2. Microbes on Your Handbag/Wallet
  3. Pathogens on Your Cell Phone
  4. Kitchen Sponge Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat
  5. Bugs on Your Shopping Cart
  6. How Dirty Is Your Toothbrush?
  7. Contagions at the Gas Pump
  8. Mailboxes Deliver Disease
  9. Bacteria on Contact Lenses
  10. Bacteria on Your Flight
04
of 10

10 Everyday Objects That Harbor Germs

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Studies have revealed that the kitchen sponge is among the dirtiest of household items. Josh Ross/Moment Open/Getty Images

4. Kitchen Sponge Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat

Studies have revealed that the kitchen sponge is among the dirtiest of household items. A kitchen sponge contains more germs than a toilet seat or garbage can. Not only do bacteria and viruses grow on sponges readily, but these germs are easily spread when we use contaminated sponges to wipe plates, counters, and other kitchen surfaces. Sponges are often contaminated with E. coli, Salmonella, and other bacteria that cause food poisoning. Sponges can be sanitized by rinsing them in water and microwaving them for two minutes or cleaning them in a dishwasher. They can also be placed in a water bleach solution for a minute, rinsed, and allowed to dry. You should be sure to wash your hands after cleaning dirty sponges. Kitchen sponges should be replaced often.

 

  1. Germs on Your TV Remote
  2. Microbes on Your Handbag/Wallet
  3. Pathogens on Your Cell Phone
  4. Kitchen Sponge Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat
  5. Bugs on Your Shopping Cart
  6. How Dirty Is Your Toothbrush?
  7. Contagions at the Gas Pump
  8. Mailboxes Deliver Disease
  9. Bacteria on Contact Lenses
  10. Bacteria on Your Flight
05
of 10

10 Everyday Objects That Harbor Germs

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Shopping carts are often contaminated with bacteria and other germs. Bryan Mullennix/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

5. Bugs on Your Shopping Cart

It is definitely a good idea to use those sanitizing wipes at the grocery store to wipe down your shopping cart. Studies have shown that shopping carts are contaminated with E. coli and fecal related bacteria. These germs are capable of causing bacteria related illnesses. The types of bacteria found on shopping carts indicate that people are not properly washing and drying their hands after using the rest room facilities. The germ "hot spots" on shopping carts are the handles and seat area. In addition to wiping down your shopping cart, it is also a good idea to wash your hands after shopping.

 

  1. Germs on Your TV Remote
  2. Microbes on Your Handbag/Wallet
  3. Pathogens on Your Cell Phone
  4. Kitchen Sponge Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat
  5. Bugs on Your Shopping Cart
  6. How Dirty Is Your Toothbrush?
  7. Contagions at the Gas Pump
  8. Mailboxes Deliver Disease
  9. Bacteria on Contact Lenses
  10. Bacteria on Your Flight
06
of 10

10 Everyday Objects That Harbor Germs

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Researchers estimate that as many as 10 million bacteria live on your toothbrush at any time. Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

6. How Dirty Is Your Toothbrush?

Researchers estimate that as many as 10 million bacteria live on your toothbrush at any time. These bacteria include E. coli, oral bacterial species, skin bacteria, and Staphylococcus. Since most toothbrushes are stored in the bathroom, they can become contaminated with germs spread from the toilet being flushed. If a toothbrush is stored in an airtight container, germs can quickly grow in the damp environment. To help keep your toothbrush clean, rinse after brushing and soak the bristles in an antiseptic mouthwash. Store your toothbrush in a place where it is exposed to air and be sure to close the toilet lid before flushing. It also a good idea to replace your toothbrush every three to four months.

 

  1. Germs on Your TV Remote
  2. Microbes on Your Handbag/Wallet
  3. Pathogens on Your Cell Phone
  4. Kitchen Sponge Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat
  5. Bugs on Your Shopping Cart
  6. How Dirty Is Your Toothbrush?
  7. Contagions at the Gas Pump
  8. Mailboxes Deliver Disease
  9. Bacteria on Contact Lenses
  10. Bacteria on Your Flight
07
of 10

10 Everyday Objects That Harbor Germs

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Gas pump handles may be the dirtiest items we encounter on a daily basis. Images by Fabio/Moment/Getty Images

7. Contagions at the Gas Pump

A study conducted by Kimberly-Clark's Healthy Workplace Project has identified gas pump handles as the dirtiest items we encounter on a daily basis. These handles are not cleaned and thus become breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. Disease causing germs can be transferred from pump handles to our hands and along to others through skin contact. It is recommended that you use disinfectant wipes to wipe down a gas pump handle before pumping gas. You should also wash your hands with soap and water or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer as soon as possible after pumping gas.

 

  1. Germs on Your TV Remote
  2. Microbes on Your Handbag/Wallet
  3. Pathogens on Your Cell Phone
  4. Kitchen Sponge Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat
  5. Bugs on Your Shopping Cart
  6. How Dirty Is Your Toothbrush?
  7. Contagions at the Gas Pump
  8. Mailboxes Deliver Disease
  9. Bacteria on Contact Lenses
  10. Bacteria on Your Flight
08
of 10

10 Everyday Objects That Harbor Germs

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Mailbox handles are populated with disease causing germs. Tetra Images/Getty Images

8. Mailboxes Deliver Disease

We check our mailboxes frequently but don't think of this task as a risk for picking up germs. A study conducted by Kimberly-Clark's Healthy Workplace Project has identified mailbox handles as runner up to gas pump handles as the dirtiest items we encounter on a daily basis. Mailbox handles are populated with bacteria and viruses that can be transferred through contact with the skin. Disinfectant wipes should be used to clean your mailbox. Washing your hands with soap and water after checking the mail is also recommended.

 

  1. Germs on Your TV Remote
  2. Microbes on Your Handbag/Wallet
  3. Pathogens on Your Cell Phone
  4. Kitchen Sponge Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat
  5. Bugs on Your Shopping Cart
  6. How Dirty Is Your Toothbrush?
  7. Contagions at the Gas Pump
  8. Mailboxes Deliver Disease
  9. Bacteria on Contact Lenses
  10. Bacteria on Your Flight
09
of 10

10 Everyday Objects That Harbor Germs

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Bacteria that grow on contact lenses can cause a serious eye infection. Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

9. Bacteria on Contact Lenses

Bacteria that grow on contact lenses can cause a serious eye infection called bacterial keratitis. In bacterial keratitis, bacteria infect corneal cells causing scarring and even blindness. Normally, bacteria are removed naturally from the eye by the process of blinking. If the eye is covered by a contact lens however, blinking is ineffective at removing bacteria that are between the contact lens and the eye. Bacterial keratitis is typically cause by the germs Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These bacteria can grow on contact lenses that are not disinfected properly, lenses that are rinsed or stored in water, or lenses that are stored in cases that are not cleaned properly. To prevent bacteria buildup on contact lenses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you wash and dry your hands properly before touching your contact lenses. You should not sleep in your contact lenses or wear them while showering or swimming.

 

  1. Germs on Your TV Remote
  2. Microbes on Your Handbag/Wallet
  3. Pathogens on Your Cell Phone
  4. Kitchen Sponge Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat
  5. Bugs on Your Shopping Cart
  6. How Dirty Is Your Toothbrush?
  7. Contagions at the Gas Pump
  8. Mailboxes Deliver Disease
  9. Bacteria on Contact Lenses
  10. Bacteria on Your Flight

Source:

  • Basics of Bacterial Keratitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated January 27, 2015. (http://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/bacterial-keratitis.html).
10
of 10

10 Everyday Objects That Harbor Germs

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Dangerous bacteria are able to survive on airplane cabin surfaces for as long as week. Buena Vista Images/Photodisc/Getty Images

10. Bacteria on Your Flight

Two dangerous types of bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and E. coli, are able to survive on airplane cabin surfaces for as long as week. Researchers tested several surfaces including armrests, plastic tray tables, and cloth and leather seat pockets. When the surfaces were exposed to bacteria under conditions similar to those on an airplane, the bacteria were able to survive for days. MRSA and E. coli can cause serious illness if a person becomes infected by these germs. They can be transmitted to people through surface to skin contact. The best defense against these and other germs is to wash your hands with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. After touching surfaces on a plane, avoid touching your face until you can properly clean your hands.

 

  1. Germs on Your TV Remote
  2. Microbes on Your Handbag/Wallet
  3. Pathogens on Your Cell Phone
  4. Kitchen Sponge Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat
  5. Bugs on Your Shopping Cart
  6. How Dirty Is Your Toothbrush?
  7. Contagions at the Gas Pump
  8. Mailboxes Deliver Disease
  9. Bacteria on Contact Lenses
  10. Bacteria on Your Flight