At the gym, people diligently wipe the equipment after use with a chemical spray that OSHA would most likely ban at your workplace...
Makes sense, right? After all, people SWEAT on those things!! The stronger the disinfectant the better!
Here's the top 7, with thanks to our compadres at GrandParents.com:
- Cell Phones/Tablets/Other PDA's
About 75 percent of device owners think nothing of texting, talking, and emailing in the bathroom just as they would in any other room. If you’re one of them, there’s an excellent chance your phone has poop on it. You wash your hands after using the bathroom, but don’t clean the phone before slipping it into your pocket/handbag or setting it on the kitchen counter, your desk, or nightstand, contaminating those surfaces (and your hands again) with fecal matter, says Donna M. Duberg, M.A., M.S., an assistant professor of clinical laboratory science at Saint Louis University.
What to do: Wipe it w/disinfectant after using in a bathroom.
- Your Grandchild's Lovey
Any toy can be a haven for bacteria and viruses, especially one shared by lots of kids. But the germiest item is the one your grandchild loves best. “Loveys are a schoolbus for germs,” says Benjamin Tanner, Ph.D., a microbiologist and founder of the Antimicrobial Test Laboratories in Texas. “Kids carry them everywhere.” Not only is it picking up bugs from countless encounters with the floor, sidewalk, and playground, it’s also been coughed and sneezed on—and probably used as a snot rag.
What to do: wash cloth items once per visit; wipe down plastic items upon the child's arrival; that oughta cover you throughout the visit.
- Your/Your Wife's Purse
You/she carry(s) a purse everywhere, so there’s also a chance that it's toting pretty potent bugs, including ones that cause colds and diarrhea. “About a quarter of purses have fecal material on the outside,” says Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson. They're quite the breeding ground for bacteria because, “We put them on the floor in restrooms, restaurants, and offices—and then come home and set them down on the kitchen counter or table. Plus, we don’t think of cleaning them.
What to do: after it's been with you in the bathroom or on a public floor use a disinfectant wipe or, once home, wash it with warm water and mild soap like Ivory, rinse it off thoroughly, and then let dry. Leather can be reconditioned easily afterward.
- The Car
Besides the seats from leftover food & drink from visiting grankids and all that snacking-while-you-drive, other top spots for germs include the steering wheel, dashboard knobs, door handles, and cup holders, says Duberg. What turns cars into such germ zones? People don’t wash their hands before they climb into them—and they rarely disinfect all the places they touch while they’re in there.
What to do: regularly wipe down the steering wheel, cup holder, dashboard, and handles with a disinfectant. Be thorough: If a wipe starts to dry out while you’re cleaning, toss it, and continue the job with a new one.
- Your Coffemaker
When it comes to lurking bacteria, kitchens are worse than bathrooms, say experts. And though the sponge and sink take top prize for prime breeding grounds, the reservoir of a coffee maker isn’t that far behind, according to a study from NSF International, a nonprofit health and safety organization. It’s dark and damp and rarely, if ever, cleaned, making it the perfect place for bacteria, mold, and mildew to grow.
What to do: monthly, put up to 4 cups of vinegar in the reservoir, let it stand for 30 minutes, then run the vinegar through the unit; follow up with two or three cycles of water to eliminate the vinegar smell.
- Outdoor Throwing/Rolling play-things...
...like balls, frisbees, etc. Once outside hitting/rolling around on the ground, it’s bound to pick up bits of dog poop, according to Gerba. And who thinks to clean it after you and/or the grandkids have finished playing around.
What to do: A kid/eco-friendly option: mix one part 10-percent distilled white vinegar to nine parts water, and give'em a good wipe when you come in from play.
- The Toothbrush Holder & Soap Dispenser
According to the NSF study, these are teeming with grossness. Why? The biggest culprit is flushing with the toilet lid open; millions of organisms shoot into the air every time you flush with the lid up—that then land on the toothbrush holder, toothbrushes, faucets, and towels. We regularly wipe toilets, faucets & change towels, but tend to ignore the toothbrush holder/soap dispenser.
What to do: shut the lid before flushing...that was easy! But for those times you forget or your guests don't do it, put the toothbrush holder in the dishwasher once or twice a week, and wipe down the soap dispenser using a shot of soap from it.
Now you can start obsessing over the right items!
You have been officially alerted.