The germiest places and things in the average home and workplace may come as a surprise. For example, a cell phone has 10 times more germs than a toilet seat. The reason a cell phone has more germs is because most people do not clean their cell phones like they clean their bathrooms.
There’s no need to worry too much about getting sick from your own germs on the cell phone. However if you share your phone with another person, they may become sick having been exposed to your germs that linger on the device.
Another one of the germiest things comes in the form of a kiss, according to a study in the journal Microbiome. When a person kisses someone for as little as ten seconds, close to 80 million germs are traded between him or her. They may not necessarily get sick, especially if they kiss a few times each day, because they end up sharing the same germs.
According to an awareness report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the germiest public and residential places is in a swimming pool. Chlorine does not get rid of all germs, making a swimming pool one of the germiest places at home or in public.
When chemicals like chlorine are at the right levels in a pool, most germs die in an hour. However, some germs can live for days.
In addition, if a person swallows just a little water, they can become sick. The CDC advises to take a shower before going for a swim, in order to keep dirt and sweat out of the water. They also suggest the most obvious and unmentionable—people should not urinate, defecate, or go in the pool if they have diarrhea.
To avoid making the home and workplace one of the germiest places, an individual should cover his or her mouth with their elbow, or upper sleeve when they sneeze.
The best way to protect others from germs that spread when sneezing is to use a tissue over the mouth and nose. When done sneezing, the person should discard the tissue in a wastebasket and wash their hands well with warm water and soap.
Cleaning hands by rubbing them in warm water with soap for 20 seconds is all that’s required—as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
One of the most obvious germiest places anywhere is the floor. Contrary to the 5-second rule, germs get on the food as soon as it hits the floor. Food should never be eaten if it was dropped on the floor.
A National Sanitation Foundation study on germiest items in the home determined the kitchen sink as one of the germiest places. It should be cleaned at least once or twice a week, including the bottom and sides.
Using one teaspoon of bleach in a quart of water and tossing it down the kitchen sink drain and garbage disposal will help clean out some of the germs. It’s also recommended that the sink strainer should be cleaned in a dishwasher at least once a week.
Antibacterial soap is not necessarily the best weapon against germs. There’s no solid evidence that supports antibacterial soap works any better than plain old soap.
Liquid soap is actually better than bar soap, because germs can grow on bar soap.
The germiest place in the house or at work is the kitchen sponge. Sponges pick up a lot of bacteria. And if they’re not cleaned right, germs will spread everywhere the sponge is used, including a person’s hands.
Putting a wet kitchen sponge in the microwave for two minutes every day will properly clean the sponge. It should be replaced after two weeks.
However, it’s much better to use rags, cloths, or towels and after using them, wash them in the washing machine or clean them with bleach.
Germs are microscopic—invisible to the naked eye. They’re alive and get into plants, animals, and people and some germs make people sick.
Proper care and knowledge helps in reducing the likelihood of getting ill from being exposed to the germiest places and things in the home and at work.
[Featured image via R. Parulan Jr./Getty Images]