Filthy objects we touch everyday

Date:25 February 2020 Author: Kyro Mitchell Tags:,

During the course of a day, people interact with a variety of objects, each one potentially carrying a dangerous virus or bacteria. While its common knowledge to always wash your hands before and after working with food or using the bathroom, it’s easy to slip up and interact with something filled with germs or bacteria.

To ensure you don’t mess up and accidentally contract an unwanted virus, here is a list of the five dirtiest objects people interact with on a daily basis.


There’s an old saying that reads, “money makes the world go around”. As it turns out, money also makes the flu go around. According to Scientific America, the human influenza virus can survive on Polymer banknotes for up to three days and up to 17 days on banknotes that are made using cotton paper. Avoiding banknotes is virtually impossible, but there are a few things you can do to mitigate the risk of contracting something from one. Instead of wiping down every single note, try cleaning out your entire wallet or purse, alternatively, you could do away cash altogether and go digital. Services like Snapscan or Zapper make it extremely easy to use your money without having to actually touch any filthy notes.

Steering wheel

Driving can be quite a stressful task, with drivers having to pay close attention to their speed and other motorists around them. Now, it seems as though contracting a virus is another worry drivers have to deal with. According to Autoblog, the average car steering wheel contains up to 700 potentially dangerous germs per 6 square centimeters. That equates to about nine times as many germs as you might encounter on a public toilet seat. The strangest thing about this fact is that the steering wheel is one of the easiest surfaces in your car to clean. To avoid picking up a nasty bacterial hitchhiker, simply mix some soapy water onto a wet cloth and wipe away, then use a paper towel to wipe away any excess moisture.


Keyboards are yet another item we interact with on a daily basis without any second thought. That might just be for the best though, because if you actually think about, they’re covered with food crumbs, sweat from our fingers, and all sorts of other nasty pathogens. A new study published by Huffington Post found that the average keyboard contains up to 20,000 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. Worry not though, as there are methods to cleaning a keyboard.
Start off with unplugging the keyboard from your computer, if you’re using a laptop, simply switch it off before anything else. The next step involves turning the keyboard upside down and shaking any loose debris or crumbs from the keyboard. Next, use a can of compressed air to blow away remaining crumbs or debris from in-between they keys. finally, dip a cotton swob or earbud into some isopropyl alcohol to get rid of the remaining dirt and grime.

Pedestrian crossing button

This one should not come as a surprise. Thousands of citizens constantly press these buttons throughout the day, and seeing as germs are most commonly passed along through hand gestures and touching things, it makes sense that pedestrian crossing buttons are quite dirty. Don’t take our word for it thought, a study conducted by scientists at Castleknock Community College in Dublin, found that these crosswalk buttons had ‘significant’ bacterial colonies of diphtheroid, staphylococcus, bacillus living on them. These are the same bacteria that cause food poisoning.
As for cleaning these buttons, you could go with the tried and tested wet-wipe or alcohol swobs to get rid of any visible grime, or you could just avoid pressing the button altogether and wait for a break in traffic to cross the road.

Escalator handrails

People aren’t the only passengers when it comes to escalators. The escalator hand rail is basically a never-ending conveyor belt for germs and bacteria. According to research conducted by, they found food, E. coli, urine, mucus, feces, and blood on escalator handrails, and as you know, mucus often leads to the spread of the flu virus. It’s not all doom and gloom though, LG Innoteck and Clearwin have developed a new sterilizer capable of whipping out 99.99 percent of germs on handrails thorough a process known as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, although we have yet to see this device used on South African escalators.
Avoiding germs on escalator handrails is as easy as simply avoiding the handrails all together, if you absolutely have to touch them though, be sure to wash your hands afterwards.

Image: Unsplash

Latest Issue :

May-June 2022