5 everyday items you're using that are germier than you think


As cold and flu season approaches, we all get a little bit more conscious about germs. Maybe you wash your hands more often or avoid that colleague sneezing in the corner cubicle.

RELATED: The 10 germiest items in your home

Despite your best efforts, however, you're almost certainly going to come into contact with bacteria on a daily basis. Even some of the most mundane items you touch regularly are infested with bacteria and germs.


Sure, you may feel concern when sitting on public toilets or when using a public drinking fountain (especially after that sneezing colleague). But did you realize that some items you touch every day, without even thinking about the germs, are actually some of the dirtiest?

Here's a look at everyday bacteria-infested items that you probably never gave a second thought:

1. Kitchen sponges

Although it's associated with cleanliness, the sponge by your kitchen sink is one of the dirtiest objects in your entire home. According to Business Insider, it's even dirtier than your toilet!

RELATED: Your kitchen sponge is filthier than your toilet, study says

study published earlier this year revealed that the germ colonies living in your kitchen sponge are actually a more serious health hazard than you think. The researchers recommend replacing it every week. If you aren't, all the other precautions you're taking might be kind of pointless.

2. Office coffee mugs

Perhaps following the kitchen sponge revelation, it's not surprising that your office coffee mug is almost certainly loaded with germs.

A study, published by "The Journal of Dairy, Food, and Environmental Sanitation" and reported by Fortune earlier this year, revealed that 90 percent of office coffee mugs are coated with germs. But wait, it gets worse. Some 20 percent of the studied office mugs even had fecal matter on them.

Researchers suggest that if you drink from a reusable coffee mug, take it home daily and run it through your own dishwasher.

3. Mobile phones

How much time do you spend playing with and using your phone on a daily basis? Now, think, when was the last time you cleaned it?

A previous study has shown that as many as one in six mobile phones is actually infected with fecal matter. This, of course, means two things: a lot of people need to do a better job of washing their hands, and they also need to be cleaning their phones on a regular basis.

RELATED: This is why you should stop taking your phone with you to the bathroom

4. Bathroom towels

So, you go to the bathroom, do your business and, of course, you wash your hands. You even use extra soap and keep your hands under the water for a couple minutes. You're good, right? No germs left!

Well, you might be fine ... if you avoid drying off with the bathroom towel.

"Bacteria like to grow in wet, moist conditions," Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, told TIME in January.

He went on to explain that just because you washed your hands thoroughly, it doesn't mean the others who used the towel did the same. According to Gerba, all towels should be washed after just two days of use; otherwise you're merely rubbing bacteria back onto your skin.

5. Money

They say money is the root of all evil, but it's also the root of a lot germs.

In fact, money is so dirty that some scientists suggest transitioning entirely to cash-less transactions would be a significant boost to overall public health.

"The fibrous surfaces of U.S. currency provide ample crevices for bacteria to make themselves at home. And the longer any of that money stays in circulation, the more opportunity it has to become contaminated," a report in Scientific American from January explains, also pointing out that smaller bills carry the most germs and bacteria.

According to one government study reported by TIME, more than 90 percent of $1 bills harbor bacteria, including some that can cause blood infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, urinary tract and respiratory system infections. Yikes!

Essentially, germs and bacteria are unavoidable. But with that in mind, you can still do your best to keep your hands and everyday objects clean. Just remember to change that sponge weekly and wash your towels regularly.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community

John Legend blames Trump for government shutdown, calls him racist
John Legend blames Trump for government shutdown, calls him racist

Grammy and Oscar-winning singer John Legend is claiming that President Donald Trump and his team’s alleged racism are behind the government shutdown. Legend, who has vocally criticized Trump Sr. and Jr. both in the past, tweeted the following just after midnight Saturday: “The reason the government shutdown is that Trump...
Ibuprofen appears to mess with male hormones. Should you be worried?

In recent decades, prompted by concerns that men’s sperm quality is declining, researchers have looked at things they suspect of potentially disrupting the body’s endocrine system - from chemicals in water bottles to WiFi laptops to wearing tight underwear instead of boxers. You can add ibuprofen to the list. In a study published in the...
Lifestyle changes for better blood pressure
Lifestyle changes for better blood pressure

If you’re worried about high blood pressure, there are some things you can do beyond taking appropriate medication. The American Heart Association (AHA) points to some not-so-difficult lifestyle changes to delay or lower high pressure and reduce the risk of illnesses associated with it, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Here&rsquo...
So what’s high blood pressure?
So what’s high blood pressure?

When headlines about new blood pressure guidelines pinged across my phone recently, I remembered a man my inpatient team had admitted to the hospital not long ago. He had gotten up in the middle of the night to use the toilet and passed out, hitting his head on the floor. The first people to find him described him twitching, so he initially got a battery...
5 reasons not to diet in 2018, and what to do instead
5 reasons not to diet in 2018, and what to do instead

January, a.k.a. National Dieting Month, is once again upon us. Before you sign up for another a restrictive eating plan that has been designed by someone who doesn’t even know you, here are five reasons to opt out of diet culture this year. 1. Diets don’t work. Anyone who says they have found the proven way to lose weight and keep it off...
More Stories