10 of the Germiest Places in Your World

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It's back-to-school time, which means a few things: parents everywhere are either saddened (or rejoicing) that their wee ones are going to be back in class five days a week. It also means that we're now coming up on one of the sickest times of the year: fall.

Want to reduce your chances of getting whatever latest bug is going around? Then learn more about the dirtiest places in your world so you can try to take some precautions.

Read on to learn about the germiest places you encounter almost every day. Some of them may shock you.

1) Kitchen sinks. Even the amount of water and soap you use while washing dishes can't stand up to the number of germs that decaying food and used plates foster.

2) Outdoor music festivals. While my mother called herself a "dirty hippie" and explained that sunshine does kill germs, apparently that is not true at outdoor music festivals. Too many people drinking, touching, and vomiting on one another.

More from The Stir: Hotels Are Infested With Germs but Your House Isn't Much Cleaner

3) Door handles. Doesn't matter if the door handles are in school, at the office, or in the gym - they attract germs, dirt, and grime. They are also - and even as a nurse, this shocked me - one of the most prevalent transmitters of the flu and of the rhinovirus (common cold).

4) Your purse or backpack. Apparently, the insides of the things we use to tote around our stuff are rife with nasty germs and infectious bacteria. (Runs off to get Lysol.)

5) Wet laundry. This is a shocker, but wet laundry can hold a lot of microorganisms that love the warm, wet environment. These bacteria can spread through to other clothes if not properly sanitized in hot water.

6) Playgrounds and play areas. I always knew there was a reason I loathed taking my children to those indoor (and outdoor) playgrounds: they're full of germs. It makes sense that the indoor play areas are riddled with bacteria, but I'd (wrongly) assumed that the outdoor ones were a little less germy.

7) Hotel linens. While linens do get washed by the staff in hotels, people do a lot of weird, wacky stuff when they're not at home.

8) Your keyboard and mouse. With most of today's workforce relying on computers to work, it's fairly easy to see how the oils and bacteria from the hands can leave behind germs, dirt, and easily communicable disease, like the flu virus or the common cold.

9) Cell phones. You don't think about the germs - especially your OWN germs - you can easily transmit from mouth and hands to your cell phone. Because more and more people have smartphones, cell phones have become increasingly germ-laden.

10) Hospitals and doctor's offices. When you think "hospital," you rarely think of the dangerous germs that are strewn around (unless you're a nurse, like me). It's impossible for the hospital and office staff staff to keep up with the sterilization that's required to maintain a completely germ-free environment. This is why you should ALWAYS make sure that anything you wear into the hospital or use in the hospital is properly washed using the hottest settings on your washing machine/dryer.

Wow. There were a lot of places that surprised me. Which one surprised you most?


Image via Fotos Gov BA/Flickr

cold & flu, medicine


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mompam mompam

I didn't know about the laundry, but I'm not going to worry about it.

nonmember avatar Guest

I work in a hospital and can honestly say the "environmental services" dept (fancy name for housekeeping) does not do a great job at all of cleaning rooms and/or waiting areas... I'm not sure if it's lack of motivation from low pay (HSK and the kitchen both start right around minimum wage) but I can honestly say the hospital I work for is not at all a clean place

nonmember avatar Bee

Okay, so this mostly didn't surprise me, probably mostly because I have a PhD in Microbiology (that means I lack common sense in most regards, but know way too much about microbes). The only thing that I had never really thought about was the purse. I actually liked hearing that, because it encourages me to buy new purses instead of used ones at Goodwill. Don't get me wrong- I love me some Goodwill, but new purses are just waaaaaay too fun!

kjbug... kjbugsmom1517

The purse one surprised me alittle... only alittle. If u think about all the people who touch ur credit cards/debit cards then u put that back in ur wallet? Germs. Cash? Germs. Steal a pen? Germs. Looks like im due for a new purse ;). The rest did not surprise me.

Rae.302 Rae.302

The germiest place on your toilet isnt the bowl, or even the seat, its the flush handle. Still, toilets have far less germs than an office desk.

nonmember avatar Jenn

I never understood how people could bathe their babies in the sink. I think it's so gross.

Rebec... Rebecca7708

This germaphobia is a getting out of hand. Pretty soon we're all going to have to live in sterile bubble environments because our bodies don't have a chance to build natural immunities. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Clorox fan but, this is just getting ridiculous.

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

Um, the comment about bathing kids in the sink? lol Theres this stuff called disinfectant...It usually helps in those instances.

And I agree with Rebecca7708...One time I was in a public bathroom and the mom walked around and only touched things if she had a towel on her hand. And she actually pulled out a travel sized Lysol before she and her kid walked into the stall. I mean, I'm all for cleanliness, but I'm not going to put myself or my kid in a hazmat suit everyime we leave the house.....Oh wait...even our HOMES are germy! *hides!*

GlowW... GlowWorm889

If you think these are bad, I'd hate to see your reaction to your child's classroom, especially the younger classrooms.

the4m... the4mutts

So? Most people are immune to their "own" germs, like on the smartphone. And rhinovirus? So what. The germs you can get on you from simply touching things, aren't going to kill you 99.99% of the time.

Its just a little grime people. Wash your hands frequently, and keep your hands away from your face. All is good!

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