According to a 2012 study called The Healthy Workplace Project from Kimberly-Clark Professionals, 75 percent of sink faucet handles at workplaces nationwide have have high levels of contamination. Of course, you can’t go around cleaning everything in sight. But you can take care of germs in your own home.
Here are some of the things you use and clean everyday:
You probably type on your computer every day, so it’s no wonder that the thing is crawling with bacteria. According to a 2018 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, it may even be teeming with staphylococcus aureus, which can cause potentially-serious infections in humans.
While washing your bedsheets and pillowcases every day may be overkill, it’s important to clean up your bed on a daily basis for both your mental and physical wellbeing. A 2016 study by Amerisleep found that your pillowcase alone has three million bacteria per square inch by the end of a single week, with that number jumping to 11.96 million by the end of a month.
Any attempts to improve your health by carrying a reusable water bottle might just backfire if you’re not cleaning it on a daily basis. Research published in the Annals of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2017 revealed that the average amount of bacteria in adults’ reusable water bottles was 75,000 per milliliter. If left uncleaned, that number had the potential to reach up to two million per milliliter within a single day.
Your wedding ring’s primary purpose is to serve as a symbol of your commitment to your spouse. But it’s also apparently a breeding ground for some seriously gross bacteria.
In 2009, researchers at the University of Oslo discovered that wearing rings increased the total number of bacteria on healthcare workers’ hands. In fact, individuals wearing rings were twice as likely to have Enterobacteriaceae (a group that includes E. coli and salmonella) on their hands than those who didn’t wear jewelry.
Hundreds of times each day, you touch your phone—or hold it to your face. Needless to say, the thing could certainly use a regular cleaning. So, just how dirty is your device? According to a 2017 study of healthcare workers’ phones published in the Iranian Journal of Micobiology, 46 percent of participants had six different types of bacterial growth on their phones. Acinetobacter baumannii, a major source of infection in hospitals, and antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus aureuswere among the most common.
Before going out for a drive, you might want to consider wiping down your steering wheel first. A recent study from CarRentals.com revealed that the average steering wheel harbors 629 colony-forming bacterial units per centimeter—four times the amount found on an average public toilet seat.
If you want to keep your home a whole lot cleaner, make a point of wiping down your remote controls at the end of every day. Research presented at the 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology revealed that remote controls are the most germ-laden items in hotel rooms, with fecal bacteria appearing on 81 percent of remotes studied.
Just because they spend their time sitting in suds doesn’t mean bath toys are clean as a whistle. Think of it this way: Bath toys actually spend a good portion of their day soaking in bacteria-laden water. Research published in Biofilms and Microbiomes in 2018 revealed that 58 percent of bath toys contained fungi, while one-third of bath toys had both listeria and L. pneumophila bacteria, the latter being a primary cause of Legionnaires’ disease.
If you think those people using their elbows or paper towels to open doors are being paranoid, think again. According to a 2012 study published in the Continental Journal of Medical Research, among 180 door handles and knobs swabbed by researchers, nearly 87 percent had bacterial contamination, with 30 percent testing positive for staphylococcus aureus, 16 percent testing positive for E. coli, and 26 percent harboring Klebsiella pneumoniae, bacteria associated with the development of pneumonia and bronchitis.
If you think that your shower head is a self-cleaning entity, you’re sadly mistaken. In fact, to keep everyone in your household healthy, it’s well worth it to wipe your shower head down with an antibacterial cleaner or bleach solution on a daily basis. So, what do you risk if you choose not to? Well, research published in 2018 by the American Society for Microbiology links the bacteria commonly found on shower heads to an increased risk of respiratory illnesses.