The forgotten germs - 9 things you touch daily that aren't cleaned as often as they should be!
You may have noticed a new addition to your wallets/purses this week. The Bank of England has just released the new five pound note - aka The Fiver. This little beauty may look quite similar to the fiver's you know, but it feels much different. That's because it's made of a polymer. Try ripping or tearing these new notes and you'll struggle thanks to the tough material. But our favourite feature of these notes isn't the strength - it's that they're cleanable! That's right, you can now safely wash, or in the very least, wipe clean your money! Well for now it's just the five pound note - but the 10 and 20 are coming in the next few years too. Why is this important - well money is dirty. Literally. Tests have found the average bank note carries 26,000 bacteria1. If that doesn't have you rushing to wash your hands every time you nip into your wallet we don't know what will!
But the thing is, money probably isn't something we inherently worry about when it comes to germs. Most of us simply grab the required notes or coins from our stash and hand them over as needed, not even thinking about the bacteria we're coming into contact with in the process. Of course not all that bacteria living on your money is harmful2, but it is good to be aware. And not just of the contents of your piggy bank. After all, germs don't just live on our money. They contaminate a great deal of the objects we touch in a day. Some of these things we routinely clean - our kitchen counters, toilets etc. - but other things - like money - we barely even think about, even if we should.
With that in mind we've put together this list of nine objects you might come in contact with daily that aren't cleaned as often as they should be.
How many times in a day do you and your family flick those switches in your home, not even thinking about the bacteria that could be hanging out on the surface? You probably clean your toilet frequently, but what about the light switches in your bathroom?
Every time you pick up that remote control to change the channel, think of who has done it before, and who may do it again. And even more worrying, think of all those nooks and crannies between the buttons!
There are two categories of phones to think about here - well three actually if you count your work place. You have your home line, your mobile, and your desk and/or communal work place phone. Your mobile is probably the most important one to think about as you likely use it the most, but don't discount the others either. After all a home or office phone is likely to be touched far more by other people. And think about the nature of how you use your phone - not only do you touch it with your hands, but then you press it against your face to make calls!
The average computer keyboard is home to more than 7,500 bacteria3. And if you spend most of your day toiling away at your desk at work, then you probably engage with that keyboard more than any other object (although do remember your mouse as well!). Now might be a good time to give that old qwerty a wipe down!
The shopping trolley might be one of the worst bacteria ridden objects you face in a day. After all it's likely been touched by a legion of strangers before you. While it's likely not practical to give your trolley a wash before you head into the shop, it might behove you to wash your hands after use.
Door knobs/handles are objects we come in contact with frequently, as do the majority of the population. If you're thinking about the knobs/handles in your home, the situation isn't probably too dire. Just make sure to give them a spray and a wipe down when you're cleaning other surfaces. But if you are out in public, do beware each time you push or pull open that door.
Whether it's the salt and pepper shakers, or a bottle of ketchup, think about how often we use these objects, and how often you take the time to wipe them clean? Also consider the condiments you come in contact with in restaurants. How often are they being wiped down?
Consider your kitchen. When you're cooking things like raw chicken etc. you're probably pretty careful to wipe down the counters and what not after you're through. But what about the handle on your fridge? Did you take time to wipe it clean after you're finished putting together that excellent meal?
We kicked this article off with money, and this is where we'll finish. We already covered the thousands of bacteria that can be found on your cash - but what about the bacteria on the machines you get that cash from. After all hundreds of people are touching those cash point buttons every day. Again it's probably not the right time to whip out some Dettol and paper towel, but maybe give your hands a wash, or use some antibacterial gel, at the nearest opportunity after use!