5 Germ Hot Spots in Your Home & Workplace

It’s a germy world out there. Every surface is covered with bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew, and more.  Most of them don’t harm us, and our bodies usually do a great job of fighting germs that can make us sick.

Many of us can quickly come up with obvious things that are dirty: garbage cans, toilet bowls, public restrooms. But what about things that aren’t so obvious and that we come in contact with regularly?

Get ready to look at your home, workplace, and public surfaces through an entirely new, germy lens.

Germs in Your Home

Many people think the germiest place in their home is the bathroom. It turns out it’s actually the kitchen that takes the cake as the germiest.

Here are the top five germ hot spots in your home to know plus tips for cleaning them:

  1. Kitchen sponge/Dish rag
  2. Kitchen sink
  3. Toothbrush holder
  4. Pet bowl
  5. Coffee pot reservoir (the water holding and heating part of the unit)

Germs in the Workplace

Aside from your home, work is probably the next place you spend most of your time. While at work, you likely visit the break room and office kitchen frequently. Guess what? So does everyone else in the building. And if your office is like most, these two areas aren't getting cleaned as well as they should.

Here are the top five germ hot spots in the workplace to watch out for and to make sure you wash your hands with soap and warm water after touching:

  1. Break-room sink faucet handles
  2. Microwave door handles
  3. Computer keyboards
  4. Refrigerator door handles
  5. Water fountain buttons

Germs on Public Surfaces

Take a minute and think about the surfaces in public places that many people touch. Now think about how often they probably get cleaned. Pretty gross, huh?

Here are the top five germ hot spots on public surfaces to be aware of and to make sure you sanitize your hands after touching:

  1. Gas pump handles
  2. Mailbox handles
  3. Escalator rails
  4. ATM buttons
  5. Parking meters and kiosks

Protecting Yourself

Now that you know the hot spots germs hang out, it’s important to take action to protect yourself and prevent the further spreading of them.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and turn off faucets with a disposable towel. Always consider using hand sanitizer when you don’t have access to water.
  • Wash your hands before and after you touch your eyes, mouth, or nose.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect desks/tables, door handles, keyboards, phones, and other surfaces that frequently get touched.
  • Use these cleanliness tips to prevent food-borne illness in your house.

The germ hot spots mentioned in this article are from studies performed by Kimberly-Clark Professional (The Healthy Workplace Project) and the National Sanitation Foundation.

David M. Phelan, MD

Meet the Author

David M. Phelan, MD is a board-certified Internal Medicine/Infectious Disease Specialist.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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