BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Have you ever thought that everyday objects we touch so often might be swarming with bacteria? Charles Gerba, a microbiologist from the University of Arizona, performed a few studies and discovered that many items in our household contain way more germs than our toilets.
What everyday objects carry bacteria?
Usually, the dirtiest things are those that are touched most often. Therefore, smartphones make the top of the list. A research from London’s School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, which adds to Gerba’s work, found that one of six smartphones contain fecal matter. These objects carry ten times the germs found on a toilet seat.
Shoes are the next on the list. Two weeks after buying, a brand new pair collects around 421,000 units of bacteria. Around 27 percent of shoes contain E. coli, after contact with fecal matter from public restrooms or animal feces from the outdoors. Around 90 percent of the germs can be washed away with detergent.
The next household item might seem a little surprising, as nobody thinks it can carry so many germs. Gerba’s work found that kitchen sinks carry more bacteria than both toilets and garbage cans. Even worse than sinks are the sponges, which Gerba recommends us to put in the microwave when wet to kill the germs. Also, we should clean our sink every day with hot water, soap, and sanitizer.
Be careful to the places where your kids play. They are basically toilet areas for birds, so there is no object in a playground that does not carry bacteria. When you take your kids out to play, make sure you bring hand sanitizer, too.
Reusable shopping bags are also dangerous, as people usually never wash them and germs add up in them. After random tests, Gerba discovered that such bags contain levels of bacteria so high that they might cause serious health problems, including food-borne diseases which can affect children in particular.
Smartphones are not the only electronic devices which are full of germs. TV remotes are among them, too, and these can be more dangerous. Those devices used by a single person do not pose the risk of getting the owner sick, but those that are shared among more people pose the risk of infection. Always clean these devices with a disinfecting wipe.
Germs might be hiding in places we would not have thought of. Hence, health experts advise us to thoroughly clean all these household objects we touch every day, and be careful with the general hygiene.
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