It’s no secret that public places are often not the cleanest. But that doesn’t mean that getting sick, or even interacting with gross, dirty things, every time you’re out and about is an inevitability. Data collected by real studies has revealed the items in many common places that are the germiest – and they’re often different from what you might expect. So here are the spots to avoid (or clean thoroughly!) on your next outing to a restaurant, grocery store, and ten other places you probably frequent.
Microbiologist, Dr Philip Tierno teamed up in 2012 to investigate some of the germiest surfaces in restaurants. The absolute filthiest spot: chairs, 70 per cent of which contained bad bacteria. Chairs are constantly coming in contact with new customers, but restaurants aren’t necessarily disinfecting them too often. Menus and lemon wedges also proved some of the top offenders – employees don’t always do a thorough job cleaning menus or use gloves when handling lemons, pointed out microbiologist ‘Dr Germ’, Charles Gerba. You can’t avoid germs entirely, but you can wash your hands before dinner or toss the lemon peel aside after squeezing instead of dropping it in your water.
Entrepreneur sent swabs of various surfaces around its office to Dr Gerba and found that phones were the dirtiest of them all. Not only did they contain an average of more than 25,000 bacteria units each, but they also contained 60 types of bacteria. Desks weren’t too much better, carrying about 21,000 bacteria units each.