Imagine the dirtiest place in your home or in your workplace. I bet you didn't have to think too hard about your answer.
Toilet seats should be the dirtiest area, but in fact, they're actually cleaner than a lot of other places.
The ATP meter is a tool that measures the dirtiness of a surface, and people have used it on all kinds of surfaces to inform the public about what needs to get wiped down on a regular basis.
An ATP reading of over 300 means the surface is at risk of spreading an illness, while a reading of 100 or more means that surface needs a good wipe down.
Your golden throne comes in at around 200 on the ATP meter, which is bad, but you'd be surprised to learn which common places you can find a higher reading.
Here are 10 unlikely places in your home or work space that are dirtier than your toilet seat. You don't want to miss the last one.
1. Your Handbag
Research has found that handbags used regularly were 10 times dirtier than an office toilet seat. The area that carries the most bacteria is the handles, but even the items inside, like hand creams and lipsticks, are also covered in bacteria.
They even traced back stomach flu viruses to reusable grocery bags!
2. Water Fountain Buttons
Putting your mouth on the nozzle of a water fountain is disgusting, but you'd never think twice about touching the button. 23% of these buttons have enough bacteria to make you sick.
3. Refrigerator and Oven Door Handles
More than 20% of these handles have ATP levels of more than 300! Oven door handles are at a higher risk. Time to get the Clorox out.
4. Coffee Pots
48% of coffee pot handles have enough bacteria that require you to wash your hands after touching them.
You need to scrub hard to wipe down all the bacteria on these next ones!
5. Door knobs
This surface gets touched over and over again by who knows whose hands.
A study was conducted where viruses were put onto doorknobs in a workplace, and then it was discovered that up to 60% of the people inside the office picked up the virus.
6. Vending Machine Buttons
21% of these buttons read more than 300 on the ATP meter. Just think about it, right after you purchase those chips, candy, or chocolate bar, you're going to be touching it with your hand. Yuck!
Maybe that's the reason you got sick last time you ate something from a vending machine?
7. Mouse and Keyboard
51% of computer mice need a serious cleaning, and 23% of keyboards have enough bacteria to make you have to take a sick day.
8. Kitchen Sponge
Researchers in Arizona collected 1,000 dishcloths and sponges from people's kitchens to examine the amount of bacteria on them. Not only did they learn that each square inch of their surface contained more than 100,000 bacteria, 10% of them had salmonella.
9. Sink Faucet Handles
75% of office kitchen rooms are full of gross bacteria. You'd think it'd be rinsed enough by people's wet hands, but that actually makes it dirtier.
10. Cell phone
Your cell phone comes at 900 on the ATP meter. To be honest, that's not surprising, considering how often we touch our phone. For example, when we touch those dirty vending machine buttons, we touch our phone some time after. When we touch our mouse and keyboard, we touch our phone after. Your phone is probably birthing it's own bacteria by now.
You're probably reading this article on your phone. Now is the time to stop and disinfect it!
Which ATP meter reading surprised you the most? Let us know!