While toilet seats are infamous for being the breeding grounds for bacteria, there are many dirtier places in your house that you probably never knew existed. The following list shows common household appliances that are dirtier than your conventional toilet seat.
While ice would appear to be perfectly clean and unsuspecting, it is in fact a major breeding ground for organisms according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Ice can become soiled through being transported on dirty floors of freezing rooms, carried by soiled human hands, or exposed to unsanitary ice machines. If that wasn’t enough, a study found that 70% of the time, ice served in fast food restaurants across America had more bacteria than toilet water found in most households. Furthermore, most restaurants across America tend to freeze water for ice out of tap water, leaving many unfiltered particles to remain and be consumed. For this reason, ice makes it to the tenth position on this list.
9. Tables and Desks
Whether being used for art and schoolwork for elementary school children or for important business meetings, tables and desks have on average more than 400 times more bacteria and germs than a toilet seat. This can lead to many serious illnesses, such as smallpox, measles, and the flu. Tables also attract more germs than toilets because of the amount of time hands are placed on desks. In fact, it was reported that the area in which your hands rest on tables and desks can have approximately 10,000 bacteria organisms growing. Furthermore, many office tables are often left unwashed for long periods of time, allowing for bacteria and harmful organisms to grow and develop before spreading. For this reason, tables and desks come in at number nine of this list.
8. Computer Keyboards
Because people tend to use computer keyboards throughout their daily lives, it is no surprise that these devices would make it on the list. Keyboards attract a great amount of bacteria because they are rarely wiped or sanitized on a regular basis. As a result, it was shown in a study by Master Cleaners Ltd that “Keyboards contain 70 percent more bacteria than a toilet seat.” Additionally, because keyboards are commonly used by more than one person in office and classroom settings, viruses and bacteria can move easily from person to person in a short period of time. For example, the Center for Disease reported that the first report of a norovirus was detected on a computer keyboard. The agency also revealed that the norovirus outbreak could have been entirely prevented if people simply cleaned their keyboards frequently and diligently to limit the spread of germs from one computer to another. As a result, computer keyboards are number 8 on this list.
7. Cell Phones
Cell phones can be found nearly everyone traveling from outside their home or outside the country. For that reason, cell phones would naturally be festering with germs and bacteria. In a report by British newspaper Which?, it was reported that of a total of 90 devices tested, there were over six hundred individual organisms of Staphylococcus aureus found on the surface of a cell phone. The bacteria organism Staphylococcus aureus has been known to cause ailments ranging from respiratory tract infection to staph infections. Additionally, because phones are so rarely cleaned, they carry as much as 10 times as many bacteria than your household toilet seat. It is for these reasons that cell phones made the seventh spot on this list. Cell phones are therefore number seven on this list.
6. Kitchen Chopping Boards
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that kitchen chopping boards would contain some degree of bacteria left over from the raw meats sliced on them. However, what is surprising is that it was determined by the FDA that there are 200 times more fecal bacteria on cutting boards than on an actual toilet seat. This bacteria can be very serious to one’s health because it can cause many food-borne illnesses, including salmonella and campylobacter. Also, because kitchen chopping boards are often left out for hours on end, this provides a chance for bacteria to easily grow and spread in a warm environment. Because of this, it can be said that it is safer to prepare meats on a toilet seat than it is on an unwashed kitchen chopping board. For these reasons, kitchen chopping boards come in at number six on this list of top ten dirtier items than a toilet seat.
Toothbrushes have a bad tendency to stray too close to the toilet seat. Even at the furthest point in the bathroom from the toilet seat, a toothbrush typically wont be more than 4 feet away. Because of this, whenever a toilet is flushed, airborne feces particles get propelled up to 6 feet in distance, according to Chuck Gerba, PhD, professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona. Additionally, toothbrushes on average contain around 10 million microbes, such as germs like influenza viruses, herpes, and even bacteria that can lead to gum disease and cavities. Another reason that makes toothbrushes dirtier than toilets is that the food bacteria can last for days, serving a perfect breeding ground for the microbes. In order to best limit these bacteria particles from harboring on the toothbrush, it is recommended to thoroughly rinse and disinfect toothbrushes often, as well as buying a replacement toothbrush every few years or so. Therefore, toothbrushes come in at number five on this top ten list.
4. Television Remotes
If you’ve stayed in a hotel room, you’ve probably held a television remote that had been held hundreds of times before you. Through a study by Katie Kirsch of the University of Houston, Kirsch and her team found that television remotes in hotels had an average of 67.6 colony-forming units of bacteria per square centimeter. These findings also proved to suggest that housekeepers and hotel maids spend only around 30 minutes per room in a typical shift, often neglecting to clean common items like remote controls. Even when they do clean items like remote controls, room cleaners often spend too little amount of time disinfecting to completely kill off the remaining bacteria growing on the remote. As a result, there is a significant risk for microbial contamination in hotel rooms, as well as spreading the bacteria to a home or office. Television remotes are therefore number four on this top ten list.
After ten years of use of a mattress, it has been shown that old mattresses will weigh more than twice the weight of what it was when it was first purchased. The reason? Dust mites and dead skin cells, in addition to bacteria and germs get buried deep into the mattress gradually over time. According to a new study conducted by Check Safety First, it was found that hotel beds are used by thousands of travelers and are never cleaned or disinfected after the high level of use. They reported that often hotels will only change and clean bed sheets and pillow covers, and leave everything else the same. Additionally, hotels often purchase reconditioned mattresses in an effort to save money. These mattresses, however, are often filled with high amounts of dust and flakes of skin, leading to illnesses not even a toilet seat would have. These combined reasons make bed mattresses number three on the list.
In a study by Dr. Ron Cutler of the University of London, the biomedical scientist found that out of 200 bills of currency, 26 of the notes contained significant levels and concentrations of bacteria. Additionally, bacteria such as E. coli was discovered, along with Staphyloccus aurenus. Even more concerning, nearly 80 percent of the bank notes used in the study contained some traces of bacteria on them, significantly increasing the potential for ailments and sicknesses. If that wasn’t enough, a study from the Melbourne’s Public Defender office discovered that a single note of currency had bacteria levels that were 6.4 times greater than readings from restrooms, leading money to be dirtier than toilets. For this reason, money got number two on the list.
1. Kitchen Sponges
The first place spot on this list belongs to the common household kitchen sponge. According to Roxanne B. Sukol, a medical director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Enterprise, kitchen sponges can contain as much as 10 million individual bacteria organisms per square inch of sponge. In other words, a kitchen sponge can be as much as 200,000 times dirtier than the surface of most toilet seats. The main reason why sponges are dirtier than toilet seats is due to the fact that the sponges are used to clean off food particles from unclean kitchen dishes. However, when the food particles are removed, they tend to stay attached to the sponges, festering bacteria and spreading the organisms to clean dishes. It is therefore best to replace and clean sponges thoroughly before use, decreasing the spread of germs and preventing future illnesses. As a result, kitchen sponges are the number one dirtiest items compared to a toilet seat.