The Eight Most Germy Spots at the Mall
You’re probably going to be headed to a mall within the next few weeks to do your Christmas shopping, so here’s a list of eight germ hot spots to gross you out, thanks to Health Magazine.
The Bathroom Sink
I hate to tell you this, but it’s worse than the toilet seat. The bathroom sink is a hotbed for bacteria because it never dries out. What’s one of the first things people touch after they use the toilet? The sink. The soap dispensers are also pretty nasty, but since you touch the soap dispenser right before you wash your hands, it’s not as big of a deal, but still. Yuck.
Food Court Tables
Before you eat that stray French fry that fell off your tray, think of this. The table is only as clean as the rag used to wipe it off. If the cleaning crew has been using the same rag all day, the rag itself can contain and spread things like E. coli.
You touch it, then you touch your face. It’s like asking to get sick. A research group tested the handrails at one mall and found traces of mucus, E. coli, urine and blood.
Researchers tested 38 ATMs in a busy city center and found each key contained an average of 12 hundred different germs. The dirtiest key? The “Enter” button. The best way to avoid transmitting those germs to your body (besides hand sanitizer) is to use your knuckle to punch the keys. Germs on your knuckle are far less likely to end up in your mouth than germs on your fingers.
Thousands of kids touching hundreds of toys leave behind millions of germs. Obviously this is where hand sanitizer comes in to play again once you leave the store, but if you buy something, wipe it down with an alcohol based cleansing cloth or spray it with anti-bacterial spray before giving it to your child.
It’s not the rooms themselves. It’s the clothing. When people try things on, skin cells and sweat can accumulate on the fabric and bacteria feed on both of those things. Shirts and sweaters aren’t that bad. It’s the pants and dresses you have to worry about, so if you’re out shopping for those things, make sure you’re wearing full coverage underpinnings.
Display items like cell phones and cameras are absolutely covered with germs and a study published last year found that bacteria and viruses are easily transmittable between the glass screens and buttons and our finger tips.
A study in 2005 showed that more than one third of makeup testers are contaminated with E. coli, staph, strep and other kinds of unpleasant bacteria, so resist the urge to try on that new shade of lipstick the next time you’re at the department store.