The 5 Most Germiest Surfaces You Touch Regularly: Germs are Everywhere!

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Perhaps the scariest thing about this article - and doing the research for it - is that it was hard to determine which five surfaces qualified as the germiest. That's because we're constantly surrounded by dozens (and I am being conservative on this estimate) of extremely germy surfaces and items that could vie for this top five list.

In fact, reports of the levels of germs on surfaces in public places varies considerably, and the spectrum of figures depends at least in part on where the study was done. Testing has focused on the dirtiest surfaces in workplaces, schools, homes, hospitals, and everyday items in general. Frankly, the results of all the studies significantly raised my awareness of just how germy our world can be.

But forewarned is forearmed, and we hope the following information will set your radar in motion and trigger you and your family to take steps to protect against the hordes of germs literally at your fingertips by thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water after touching these surfaces.

Here are the top five germiest surfaces (and several runner-ups). Even if you don't agree with the order of the list (and it is open for interpretation), what's a few million bacteria one way or the other?

1. Grocery cart handles.
According to University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba, PhD, about 70 to 80 percent of grocery carts tested across the country were contaminated with E. coli, which are bacteria associated with serious diarrhea and stomach cramps. Yet there can be much on those cart handles, including other disease-causing bacteria and viruses from children's dirty hands and diapers, as well as microorganisms from leaky meat, poultry, and fish packaging. Gerba is well known for his numerous studies of contamination with germs in public places.


By Deborah Mitchell| October 09, 2015
Categories:  Care
Keywords:  CareHealthy Living

About the Author

Deborah Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell

Deborah is a freelance health writer who is passionate about animals and the environment. She has authored, co-authored, and written more than 50 books and thousands of articles on a wide range of topics. Currently she lives in Tucson, Arizona. Visit her at

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