A picture of a hand towel on a towel rail, one of the 5 dirtiest things you touch every day

Here’s an interesting fact – your toilet seat is NOT one of the dirtiest things you touch every day. Toilet seats tend to be the cleanest thing in the bathroom because we clean them so often. That said, it’s hard to find a germ researcher who doesn’t recommend eating off a toilet seat.

What are the dirtiest things…?

Microbiology studies into the filthiest parts of your kitchen, bathroom, workspace, car and body don’t recommend that you serve meals next to the toilet. But if you’re wondering which everyday items are the dirtiest, think about those objects or places you ignore when you break out your mop and disinfectant.


One example: The hand-towel hanging next to your bathroom sink. Bacteria like to grow in wet, moist conditions. Towels are made to absorb water, which is great for drying your skin, but not so great for discouraging bacterial incubation. That means when you grab that towel, you’re rubbing bacteria into an ideal growing environment. Studies have also found that most people don’t wash their hands properly. With fewer people bothering to wash their hands, changing hand towels regularly is often overlooked. It’s recommended that you wash all towels—including the one you shower with—after two days of use.

The bathroom also harbours another one of the dirtiest things you touch every day. Your toothbrush holder is a reservoir of germs and people never clean them! A 2011 report by NSF International found 27% of toothbrush holders were home to Coliform bacteria. Coliform bacteria is a sickness-causing family of microorganism that includes Salmonella and E. coli. The lesson here is, wash your toothbrush holder at least once week.


In the kitchen one of the dirties things is your trusty sink sponge – health enemy number one! In fact, that sponge is likely the dirtiest item in your home. NSF Research found that 75% of home dish sponges and rags contained Coliform. It’s fair to say that your sponge is probably home to hundreds of millions of bacteria.
You want a kitchen cleaning tool you can throw into the dishwasher to disinfect—like a brush. The same goes for cutting boards. Most people will just rinse or wipe these items off. Only the dishwasher or a good scrub with washing up liquid soap, will get them clean.

Every day items

When it comes to the items you touch most your mobile phone is a big bacteria haven. Studies have found that one in six phones is contaminated with fecal matter! A simple swab with a disinfectant wipe is enough to clear away that icky residue.

Finally, when you’re out of your home watch out for supermarket carts. Almost 100% of them are home to E. coli because people are constantly touching the handles after holding raw food products. Reusable shopping bags are also pretty nasty because people rarely wash them.

While dozens of other everyday items can also make this list—shoelaces, purses, car keys, keyboards, etc.—don’t go buying a load of cleaning products! For one thing, many of them don’t work. For another, many contain substances that are linked to cancer and other health concerns.

Instead, make sure that you disinfect your hands when you leave a public space. Most people pick up dangerous germs when they’re away from home. Using a hand sanitizer or washing your hands the moment you walk into the house, will  cut your odds of catching something in half.

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