Scientists have known for decades that one of the most common ways to catch an infectious disease is through your hands.
You touch hundreds of things a day. If just one of them has infectious germs, you are in danger of getting sick.
Here are seven of the germiest objects you’re likely to touch in the course of a day. It’s important to wash or sanitize after coming into contact with them…
1. Shopping carts. Studies have found that cart handles are a haven for nasty germs. A study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found 52 different strains of Staphylococcus bacteria on cart handles. Many of these bugs cause food poisoning or other serious illnesses.
2. Money. Microscopic analysis reveals paper bills have about 200,000 bacteria per square inch. A study published in Future Microbiology found a wide variety of bugs on cash and coins including E. Coli, Salmonella, the hepatitis A virus, and flu virus. It found that simultaneous handling of money and food can lead to serious infections.
3. Kitchen sponges. These are likely the most germ-infested object in your home, says Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona. Research from the University of Messina, Italy, found 309 different bacterial strains on used kitchen sponges. Scientists described it as “a high contamination level” of disease-causing germs.
4. Cell phones. Research has found that microscopic traces of fecal matter are common on cell phones. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research found “a high degree of surface contamination” on cell phones. This included bacteria described as “opportunistic pathogens,” meaning they can make you sick.
5. Remote controls. When is the last time you cleaned the ones in your house? A study in the American Journal of Infection Control found that remotes “are a potential source for widespread dissemination” of disease-causing germs.
6. Computer keyboards. Scientists estimate there are 200 times more bacteria on your computer keyboard than on your toilet. And many of these bugs transmit disease.
7. Gas pumps. A study from the University of Arizona took samples from local gas stations. The researchers found that 71% of the handles were “highly contaminated” with pathogens. 
The Best Way to Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer is the key to staying infection-free.
A study published in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology found what researchers believe is the best way to wash your hands. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends this method:
One last thing…
Don’t use soaps labeled antibacterial. They often contain triclosan. It’s a chemical endocrine disruptor that is linked to cancer. And it doesn’t clean your hands more effectively than plain soap.
When you use sanitizer, make sure it’s at least 70% alcohol.
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