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  • Lauren Smith

10 Common Things That Are Dirtier Than Your Toilet Seat

There's a reason public bathrooms offer those tissue paper seat covers: toilets are gross. Germs and bacteria hang out on them like it's the public pool on the hottest day of the year. But, apparently, a few things you touch all the time are even germier. After reading this, you're going to want to take a shower.

Your cell phone

Think about that the next time you press it against your face (or, don't). To kill germs, Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, recommends using an alcohol wipe every few days. "Buy a box of individually packaged ones and keep a few in your purse or car," she recommends.

Your desk

And not just by a little — it's 100 times dirtier than the average toilet seat. But that totally makes sense if you, like many, forget to give this surface a swift cleaning until it starts to feel sticky. To avoid these germs, use a disinfectant wipe to rub down dirty surfaces once a week.

Elevator buttons

Bad news, apartment dwellers. Those touch points you're exposed to multiple times a day have almost 40 times more bacteria than a toilet. Since these buttons are shared by the public (and you might look odd taking a wet wipe to 'em), just wear gloves when going up or down.

Your cutting board

Since most people just rinse their board after using it, there's 200 times more fecal matter on the average cutting board than toilet seat, according to Dr. Charles Gerba (AKA Dr. Germ). "After using it to cut raw meat or poultry, always soak it in a bleach solution," says Sharon Franke, director of the Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

Your kid's car seat

Yes, the thing you strap your kids into daily. One study from the University of Birmingham found they have twice as many germs as your bathroom staple — yuck. To keep it clean, Forte recommends referring to the manufacturer's instructions, since these seats are often made with a variety of different materials

Your carpet

Soft, cozy, and ... filled with germs? Your carpet has a whopping 4,000 times more bacteria content than your toilet seat. This is just another reason why you should vacuum this surface along with your rugs once every week.

Your purse

The bag that holds your money might also hold a lot of germs. Research from Initial Washroom Hygiene found 20% of purses had up to 10 times the contaminants as your toilet seat — and the dirtiest part is the handle. The material of your bag determines how to clean it, but for fabric or leather Forte recommends mixing a few pumps of mild liquid facial soap with two cups of warm water, then use a soft cloth to blot away grime.


Bills and coins make the world go round, but they also spread germs like woah. According to research from New York University, each dollar bills carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface. There's no cleaner to solve this problem, so here's to going digital!

Your keyboard

Not only is the world at your fingertips when you're at your computer, but apparently E. coli and staph might be too. To clean your keyboard, turn it over and tap out food crumbs, then use a disinfectant wipe to banish the germs.

Fast food ice

Of course, not every restaurant is the same. But according to research from the Daily Mail, six out of 10 of the places they tested had ice with higher levels of bacteria than water from a toilet. Maybe skip ice the next time you grab a soda to go.

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