Every single day, we touch objects. Lots of them. Have you ever thought about how dirty they are? These items have so many germs that they increase the risk of colds and infections. In fact, it might explain that surprise bout of sickness.
Obviously, avoiding everyday objects isn’t practical. We need to use them for work, school, and errands. To protect yourself, keep these 11 “germy” things in mind. By doing so, you can take the necessary moves to stay clean.
Things That Can Be Filled With Germs
1. Cell Phones
Are you browsing CureJoy on your smartphone? If so, think about how much you touch the screen. Plus, when you’re on a call, germs from your face and mouth also migrate. This can even cause acne breakouts. Disinfection makes a huge difference,1 so do yourself a favor and regularly clean it. Turn off your phone, let cool, and wipe down with an alcohol pad.
Like cell phones, you touch the keyboard all day long. The same goes for the mouse. If it’s a public computer, that’s even worse. Clean the computer in the same way as a phone. Let it cool, then sanitize with rubbing alcohol.
3. Money And Credit Cards
Nothing is passed around more than money. This includes credit cards and coins. Basically, anything that you can use to pay is very dirty. Bacteria can live a long time on money. Scientists think this has to do with its contents, often a mix of cotton fibers and polymer.2 While sanitizing cash isn’t practical, washing your hands after handling it smart.
Germy plastic cards go in a germy ATM, only to release germy money. It’s the perfect setup for bacteria transmission! Obviously, it might not be appropriate to wipe down an ATM. Wash your hands afterward instead. If a sink is unavailable, bring hand sanitizer.
5. Dish Sponge
A dish sponge is home to bacteria, yeast, and mold. After all, it touches food and hands. It might even fall in the sink sometimes. Thankfully, you don’t need to use chemical sanitizers. A study in the journal Food Control found that soaking a sponge in lemon juice for 1 minute can significantly kill germs.3
6. Kitchen Towel
Like the dish sponge, kitchen towels touch hands and food. It doesn’t help that they retain moisture as well. Add kitchen towels to your weekly laundry routine. Keep a stash of clean, dry towels nearby. When you wash the towels, toss in the potholders and oven mitts, too.
7. Travel Mug
A travel mug is a breeding ground for bacteria. Every day, it’s filled up with coffee from a potentially dirty pot. Then the mug sits around while you travel. Even if you do wash it at home, there’s that germy dish sponge. Run it through the dishwasher. If you don’t have one, sanitize with hot water, soap, and a paper towel. Don’t forget to clean where you sip coffee from, too.
From the bathroom to subway, purses follow you everywhere. They also come to work, restaurants, and the great outdoors. Essentially, a purse may carry more bacteria than stuff. To keep it clean, regularly wipe down the exterior. Clean out the inside and remove any crumbs, old receipts, and makeup. Hang up whenever possible.
9. Break Room Objects
It’s rare to find a spick-and-span office break room. Multiple people touch things each day. Unsurprisingly, most won’t treat the space well, so it’s sure to be gross. Wash your hands after using microwaves, refrigerators, or coffee makers. Use your own mugs and utensils. Instead of a dirty dish sponge, use paper towels.
10. Shopping Carts
Shopping carts (and baskets) can be covered with bacteria like E. coli. In fact, placing kids in carts has
been known to spread Salmonella and Campylobacter!4 Door handles at stores are no better. Again, hand sanitizer comes in handy. You can also bring anti-bacterial wipes to clean the cart handle.
11. Public Soap Dispensers
It seems ironic, but soap dispensers are filthy. Everyone with dirty hands touches it before washing. The actual soap may be contaminated, too. You can never know if the establishment is hygienic about filling it up. To play it safe, wash thoroughly and use paper towels to dry.
Hand washing is the best way to prevent – and catching germs. Do it before eating food or treating a cut. After using the bathroom, coughing, or touching garbage, wash your hands again. The Centers for Disease Control recommends scrubbing your fingers for 20 seconds and drying with a clean towel.5
|↑1||Borer, Abraham. “Cell phones and Acinetobacter transmission.” (2005).|
|↑2||Gedik, Habip, Timothy A. Voss, and Andreas Voss. “Money and transmission of bacteria.” Antimicrobial resistance and infection control 2, no. 1 (2013): 22.|
|↑3||Sharma, Manan, Janet Eastridge, and Cheryl Mudd. “Effective household disinfection methods of kitchen sponge”.|
|↑4||Gerba, Charles P., and Sheri Maxwell. “Bacterial contamination of shopping carts and approaches to control.” Food protection trends 32, no. 12 (2012): 747-749.|
|↑5||Wash Your Hands. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|