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Washing your hands before eating.

10 surprisingly germy places in your daily life

You cannot go to the grocery store without seeing sanitizing wipes by the grocery carts or go to a doctor’s office without seeing hand sanitizer on the counter. We break down 10 places that you should be aware of. While you don’t need to become a full-on germophobe, following basic hygiene habits like washing your hands before eating and after using the restroom will help protect you from illness-causing viruses and bacteria.

  • Your desk. Studies have shown desktops have more bacteria than a toilet bowl. However, this is likely because desks are not cleaned as regularly as bathrooms. If you have lunch at your desk, wipe it down afterward with a disinfectant spray and paper towel.
  • The microwave in your office. Because so many people use office microwave and food is involved, it can quickly accumulate germs. Wipe this surface down with disinfectant when you can and wash your hands after using the microwave.
  • Dirty floors. Going barefoot on dirty surfaces – especially those that are warm and damp, like at the gym – can lead to plantar warts and athlete’s foot. Always wear flip flops when in the locker room and never go barefoot in public places.
  • Kitchen sponges. This kitchen staple can house billions of bacteria, which can lead to food poisoning symptoms. Rinse sponges well and let them dry between uses. To really zap germs, microwave the sponge for one minute after use.
  • Kitchen sinks can be filled with germs, especially if you are preparing raw meats or poultry. However, to keep the sink clean, simply rinsing with soap and warm water each day should do the trick.
  • Bathroom surfaces. These warm, damp surfaces provide a breeding ground for mold and mildew. To kill germs, experts recommend wiping down sink and shower surfaces weekly with disinfecting wipes or a mildly abrasive scrub.
  • Contaminated makeup. Makeup can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to pimples and even pinkeye. To prevent the spread of bacteria through cosmetics, wash your hands well before applying product and clean makeup applicators and brushes weekly.
  • Public drinking fountains, especially at schools. Avoid using public drinking fountains by packing your own beverage in a reusable bottle.
  • Shopping cart handles. Those sanitizing wipes in the grocery store are there for a reason – shopping carts have been found to contain saliva, bacteria and even fecal matter. Wipe down the handles and seat with a disinfecting wipe.
  • ATM buttons. Some studies have shown that these buttons contain as much bacteria as public bathroom handles. Your best bet to prevent illness? Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after a trip to the ATM.

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