The 25 Dirtiest Things You Touch Every Day

Posted by on March 27, 2012

Although you can’t see them, they’re everywhere. They’re on everything you touch, everything you eat, and they even live inside of you…by the millions. What are they? They’re bacteria, and without them we would all die. But wait, aren’t bacteria the bad guys? Well, yes, in many cases they are. Bacterial infections kill countless people every year, but that doesn’t mean they are all inherently bad. This is because their lethality at least partially depends on where they are inside your body. For example, while your guts are teeming with E. coli  that help you digest your food, it’s when they get your bloodstream that you have a problem. So, just remember as you read through this list of the 25 dirtiest things you touch every day that sometimes a little bit of dirt might actually be good for you.


Self Checkout at Supermarket

Just like with ATMs you’ll find some nasty stuff growing on those keypads. While other types of checkouts aren’t any cleaner, the supermarket only made the list because there is food involved, which means an increased chance of ingesting all that bacteria.



Generally speaking, the smaller the denomation the dirtier you can expect it to be with 1 dollars bills carrying numerous bacteria. That shouldn’t be surprising though when you think about how often they change hands. Upon analyzing a randomly sampled stash of paper money, researchers at the Wright Patterson Medical Center in Ohio actually found that a majority of paper bills have enough bacteria to give someone with a compromised immune system (HIV or cancer) some serious problems.


Gas Pump Handles

How often do you stop to fill up and at the same time get some food for the road? Hopefully only sporadically because eating those chips after touching that gas pump is almost like licking the hands of every person to have ever used it to fill their tank. Moreover, gas pumps are consistantly ranked by studies as one of the dirtiest places that we regularly stick our hands.


Escalator Rails

Topping the list of the world’s most useless bacteria infested things, unless you find some pressing need to stabilize yourself, we suggest you stear clear of the hand rails.



If you don’t wash your hands after surfing the web at your local library then you might as well just never wash your hands because those keyboards are some of the worst offenders when it comes to germ infestations. Studies have even found bacteria like staph and E. coli on their surfaces.


Kitchen Sink

With over half a million bacteria per square inch this is surely one of the dirtiest places in your house, and without a doubt far dirtier than anything in your bathroom will ever be.


Shopping Cart

Researchers at the University of Arizona recently found that shopping carts had more bacteria, saliva, and fecal mater than public bathrooms, telephones, and even those nasty escalator handrails. For this reason many shopping centers are now offering wipes to clean off your shopping cart before entering the store.


Drinking Fountain

With school fountains being the worst, they can have over 2.5 million bacteria per square inch on their spigots. That’s over 5 times filthier than anything on this list so far.


Playground Equipment

Although this is no secret to the parents among you (see our list of the 25 grossest jobs you could have), there is nothing on this planet dirtier than a kindergardener. Now imagine dozens of them swinging, crying, bleeding, and drooling all over brightly colored slides and staircases. Absolutely terrifying, but hey, it’s good for their immune systems right?


Your Mouth

Most of those germs on the playground, in the elevator, and all over your keyboard came from one spot…human mouths. And with millions of bacteria per square inch, over 700 different species call it home. But remember, not all germs are bad. In fact, your body is teeming with “good” bacteria that do everything from help you digest your food to fight off all the bad germs you get from touching the things on this list.