You’re probably well aware of how important it is to wash your hands after using the restroom or taking out the trash, but you might not even be aware of some of the dirtiest items you come in contact with daily.
These six hidden germ sources are often used, touched or pushed without a second thought.
If you’re someone who typically snacks in front of the television, think about how many times you’ve channel surfed between bites. Even if you aren’t simultaneously eating and touching your remote, it’s still making it’s way into the hands of all the other members of your household. Avoid allowing your remote to become a bacteria host by making it a point to wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe at least once a week.
Your phone goes with you everywhere. Whether it’s in the bottom of your purse, in your back pocket, or in your hand, your phone comes in contact with a significant amount of dirt and germs—not to mention any sweat, makeup or lotion it might pick up from being held against your face. Try following these detailed instructions to safely and thoroughly clean your phone.
It might seem counterintuitive, but consider how many dirty items your kitchen sponge comes in contact with. You might be unknowingly spreading bacteria throughout your home if you regularly use the same kitchen sponge to clean dishes, spills, counters or even floors.
Luckily, you don’t need to constantly replace your kitchen sponge in order to stop the spread of germs—just follow these steps to disinfect it.
Even though you might not be touching a grocery cart every day, you still probably come in contact with one on a fairly regular basis. Unfortunately, so do a lot of other people.
Thankfully, many grocery stores have caught on to how dirty shopping cart handles can be and now provide antibacterial wipes at the front of the store.
Depending on the type of keyboard your computer has, dirt and bacteria can easily get trapped on and beneath the keys. After making sure your computer is powered down, use a compressed air can to clean between and under your keys and a disinfecting wipe to clean the surface.
This study published in the journal Open Medicine found the buttons on an elevator might be among the dirtiest thing you touch every day, beating out various other surfaces in public hospital bathrooms. One professor of microbiology found as much as 100 times more bacteria on an elevator button than on a toilet seat.
So how can you avoid this particularly germ-infested surface?
Try using your knuckle or elbow to push the buttons instead of your fingertips or—as a potentially cleaner and more physically fit option—take the stairs.
While it would be impossible to keep your hands from touching at least some dirt and bacteria throughout the day, the most important takeaway from this list is to prioritize hand washing…and, perhaps, be a little more diligent in how often you clean your electronics.
Stay healthy this flu season. Download our “Fight the Flu!” guide for more flu prevention tips on fighting off germs.