Your toothbrush isn’t keeping its germs to itself. A study from public health organization NSF International found that 64 percent of toothbrush holders contained mold and yeast, compared to 27 percent of toilet seats. They’re also far more likely to contain coliforms or staph, according to the study. “You put in your brush, which is damp or wet, and that residual water drips down and collects in the bottom of the cup,” says microbiologist Lisa Yakas, senior project manager for NSF. “Germs tend to like warm and moist environments.” Most holders can go in the dishwasher, which will get rid of any icky residue and the germs feeding on it, so toss yours in weekly or monthly, she recommends.
Sink handles contain more than 600 times more microorganisms per square inch than a toilet handle, according to the NSF study. You probably wipe down your flusher every time you clean the toilet, but sink handles are a less-than-obvious spot for germs. To wash yours, wipe it down with disinfecting wipes or a bleach solution, recommends the NSF. Don’t miss these other 12 items with more germs than a toilet seat.
When was the last time you included doorknobs on your cleaning checklist? You’re going to want to start: Bathroom doorknobs contain more microorganisms per square inch than a toilet seat, according to the NSF study. Often, you’re touching that handle after using the toilet, so washing your hands properly afterwards is your first line of defense, says Yakas. Only 5 percent of people actually wash their hands for more than 15 seconds, according to a Michigan State University study, even though the CDC recommends scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. Wipe doorknobs down if you’re afraid people in your house (not you, of course) might be spreading germs.