Germs (the all-encompassing name for bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms), are everywhere – at home, at work, at the gym, even in your car. It’s an unavoidable fact that the surfaces we come in contact with every day are covered in germs.
ABC News Medical Unit1 points to the findings of Philip Tierno, Director of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at NYU and author of The Secret Life of Germs who explains that while we are constantly in contact with over 60,000 types of germs…only about 1 to 2% are potentially dangerous to people with normal immunity.
It is the 1-2% of harmful germs that we need to be careful of, and with this in mind, it makes sense to be aware of surfaces with high concentrations of pathogens.
Dr. Aaron Glatt, a spokesperson for the Infectious Disease Society of America, states, “there are very few surfaces that are truly clean, and that you’re almost never going to culture something and not find some germs on it”1.
The usual hiding places for germs are well known by most people, but what about the forgotten places concealing copious amounts of wriggling microscopic nasties?
We have discovered 9 surprising places where germs like to loiter:
Yes, the item we use to clean our teeth and mouth is often teeming with bacteria! Think about it, how often do you cleanse and disinfect the toothbrush handle? That same toothbrush handle is touched by you at least 2 times per day, occasionally with unwashed hands…and to make matters worse, the toothbrush is often located near a toilet and its associated airborne ‘by-products’.
At this point, those of you with toothbrush covers may feel a sense of smugness, but covered toothbrush holders make perfect germ incubators, particularly given the low frequency of cleaning they receive.
Wash, disinfect, and replace your toothbrushes/toothbrush holders regularly.
You can take comfort in the fact that your clothing is thrown in a washing machine immediately after a day’s wear, to come out the other end with reduced germ count (particularly if a hot water wash cycle is used)
But how about your trusty belt… how often does that realistically get cleansed?
It would be safe to say that the average belt is rarely cleaned. To help put that in perspective, which clothing accessory often gets used by your unwashed hands immediately after a visit to the toilet?
Correct answer = your belt.
3. Car Dashboards
According to prevention.com2 this is your vehicles second most common spot for bacteria and mould due to its close proximity to the air vents. Spores and germs are often drawn to the dashboard where they are deposited and then warmed by the sun – prime conditions for growth. Although the gear stick, handbrake, door handles, and window buttons are also germ magnets, the number one spot in the car for germs are food and drink spills.
The inside surfaces of your car can be regularly wiped with disinfecting wipes.
4. Dog Collars
Aussies love their pooches, and they’re rightfully treated as a true member of the family. But your dog’s collar is a contender for the most germ-ridden member of this list.
Take your typical doggie behaviour such as licking, rolling, contact with other dogs, etc, then add your own dirty hands which have been touching your dog’s mouth and coat etc, compound that with a collar which almost never gets cleaned and you have one filthy doggy accessory!
You can regularly clean and use antibacterial wipes on your pup’s collar.
Paper money passes through thousands of pairs of hands while in circulation, it stands to reason that the germ count will be sky high. It’s a good idea to view touching paper money as the equivalent to shaking hands with hundreds of people who have touched that same note over the past days and weeks.
Credit cards are better, but also a great germ habitat. It’s still a good idea to give your plastic the disinfectant wipe treatment.
6. Restaurant Menus
You’re relaxing at your favourite restaurant and scanning the menu with excitement, but before tucking in it might be an idea to quickly visit the restroom and wash your hands. That same menu could be the germiest place in the restaurant after having been handled repeatedly by oodles of different people before you.
Food for thought – the lemon slice plonked in your water glass is often overlooked by restaurant staff and patrons as an efficient germ transporter.
7. Mobile Phones
Maybe not such a surprise, but it is worth repeating that your mobile phone is highly populated with germs. The source of germs is from two main sources – your mouth and your hands.
According to everydayhealth.com, British researchers have found that as many as one in six mobile phones may be contaminated with fecal matter and E. coli3.
Mobile phones are not a device people clean very often, but given your phone is regularly near your mouth, it’s advisable to wipe it down every day or so with an antibacterial wipe (be careful to check the manufacturer’s directions regarding contact with liquids).
8. Remote Controls
Both at home and in hotels. People are constantly handling the remote, and it usually gets passed through countless pairs of hands. Food and liquids tend to accumulate on the buttons which make them a germ magnet. Sickness can further escalate the situation because people with infections often curl up in front of the TV with the remote control.
Give the remote a good going over with an antibacterial wipe at least once a week. More if a sick person has been using it.
9. Water Fountains
A fixture at most gyms, the water fountain is used by hundreds of different individuals, all with different hygiene standards and health status.
The moist surface area on the average water fountain is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and fungi. In fact, Charles Gerba from the University of Arizona, also known as ‘Dr Germ’, points to research which shows that water fountain nozzles often have twice the number of bacteria as a toilet seat1.
So, make sure that the water fountain you drink from is regularly cleaned. If you’re not confident about that, why not take matters into your own hands by grabbing a WOW Wipe and giving it a once-over yourself.
How to reduce your risk of infection
- Wash your hands regularly – this is a tried and true practice.
- Use Antibacterial Wipes when handling shared equipment and surfaces.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, with your hands – one touch with a germ-carrying finger is all it takes!
- Avoid sick people particularly if they are coughing and sneezing and disinfect any shared surface you are both touching.
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, exercise regularly, stay well hydrated, don’t smoke, and try to get at least 7hrs of sleep each night – all of these are strong immune system boosters!
WOW Wipes disinfectant wipes have been laboratory tested to kill bacteria and germs within 2 minutes (E. coli and Staph/MRSA). Visit is our store to find our more. LINK TO STORE.