7 Things You Use Every Day That Are Much More Gross Than You Think

If you are one of those people who likes to refer to themselves as a “germaphobe,” you probably have a sinking suspicion that germs, for the most part, are everywhere. You can’t know for sure, but you are pretty darn certain that fecal matter is on everything, anything, everywhere, actually–no matter how much you bathe, or how much Purell you use on a day-to-day basis, or how many times you bathe in full-on Purell, it’s never going to completely go away.

Well, germaphobes, now is the time for you to feel A) completely justified and B) totally, 100 percent skeeved out, because these suspicions, as they turn out, are actually totally true. A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Applied Microbiology (sexy title alert!) found that germs lurk in the darndest of places–like, for example, your common bathroom hand dryer. Curious? Just a glutton for punishment? Find out what the exact deal with hand dryers is below, as well as some other things you use every day that are much, much germier than you’d think:


Hand Dryers

The problem with hand dryers is not that germs are on them, necessarily--it's just that they blow germs and viruses from the room (which are around because, duh, it's a public restroom) right back onto your hands, rendering your hand-washing process useless. You can read more about the study here, but to be safe, try and use paper towels instead.

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Restaurant Menus

You know that weird, sticky sheen that's on most restaurant menus? Yeah, that's basically leftover hand grease. For lack of a better term. Most restaurant menus are rarely--if ever--washed, so they carry with them the hand residue of every person who's been at the restaurant before you. So, uh, make sure to wash up. Before and after you order.

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Your Toothbrush

Welp, this is...disappointing. Chances are good that your toothbrush contains at least 100 million bacteria, including E. coli and staphylococci, which are two things that you typically don't want hanging around your mouth. This is because germs from your toilet can fly around the room when you flush. So, to prevent excess germs on your toothbrush, make sure you store your toothbrushes inside a medicine cabinet, and close the lid on the toilet before you flush.

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Your Pillow

Your favorite hello and hardest goodbye--your bed and pillow, obviously--might actually be one of the biggest sources of germs in your life. As pillows age, they break down and, more often than not, and, start to teem with bacteria and dust mites. The good news? The bacteria, which is typically from your skin and gut, isn't the kind that'll typically make you sick. Still, if you're a little grossed out by the thought of things living in your pillows, you can either replace your pillows every two years or buy a pillow protector to keep your head clear.

Image source:iStock

Cutting Boards

If you're on chopping duty while helping out your parents with dinner, you might want to wash up afterwards. It's possible for a cutting board to carry up to 100 times the amount of fecal matter as a toilet seat. Why is this, you ask? Apparently, since cutting boards retain germs from pretty much everything that's ever been on it. So, wash the board really well afterwards. Wash your hands, too. Wash everything.

Image source:iStock

Your Backpack

The average backpack or handbag carries at least three times the amount of germs as a toilet seat, and ten times if the bag is used regularly. Plus, these aren't nice, benevolent germs--they're ones that have been proven to be harmful to your health. Maybe this is a sign that it's time to stick it in the wash?

Image source:iStock

Your Phone

It makes sense that phones are a little gross. Who among us hasn't read the odd article on how phones are a potent distributor of fecal matter? But phones are actually much, much more gross than you probably think--not only are they dirtier than a public toilet seat, they also make you break out and can actually have tiny bugs that live inside of it. The case you're keeping it in? Not much better--it's probably contaminated with something called "green slime," which is basically a combination of tobacco leaves, metal shavings, and construction dust.

Image source:iStock

Were you surprised by any of these things? Which ones? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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  • Ash Rose

    Isn’t this just a tiny bit paranoid? Nobody, and I mean NOBODY can live a germ-free life. When I was younger, I used to have a phobia of chemicals, dirt, illnesses and general cleanliness. That fear was brought on my the media phobia of dirt. I’ve got over that now, but come on, get out and live a bit instead of sterilizing the planet!