Dallas Morning News
10:25 AM CST on Monday, February 11, 2008
With help from University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba, Andrew Weil put together a list in his January Self-Healing newsletter of the nastiest germ sources at home and elsewhere.
- Kitchen sponge vs. toilet: There's more contamination in the kitchen sink, so change or sterilize the sponge that wipes it frequently. (You can sterilize it in the dishwasher, or heat it, wet, in a microwave oven for one minute).
- First-floor elevator button vs. ATM keypad: It's a tie for germiness. Wash your hands after using these buttons, or do as Dr. Weil does: Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Bedspread vs. TV remote in a hotel room: TV remote, because it's often the first thing people touch. Again, wash your hands after using, or use sanitizer.
- Grocery-cart handle vs. drinking fountain: "One of Gerba's studies found that 55 percent of handles on grocery carts were contaminated with bodily fluids [such as urine and saliva], and 21 percent showed traces of blood. As for public fountains, the ones at schools rank germiest." That's why some supermarkets supply sanitizing wipes near the carts.
- Kitchen-sink drain vs. shower drain: The kitchen sink's worse. If yours smells vaguely of rotten eggs, pour ¼ cup of baking soda followed by ½ cup of vinegar down the drain, then flush with hot water.
- First vs. middle stalls in restrooms: "Go for the first stalls because fewer people use them," Mr. Gerba said. Afterward, wash your hands as if you were Lady MacBeth.