You may want to think twice before you grab your office coffee mug and fill it with your morning cup of joe.
Workplace coffee cups are often teeming with more germs than the office toilet seat down the hall, MarketWatch reports. That’s according to research by Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of soil, water and environmental science at the University of Arizona.
Gross, right? It gets worse.
“If you want to avoid germs in the your office, you’d probably be better off licking the shared toilet seat than the phone receiver right in front of you,” MarketWatch says.
Gerba, also known as “Dr. Germ,” said the not-so-clean coffee cup and your desk phone are the two grimiest items in your office. Clean your coffee cup thoroughly — not with the bacteria-laden office sponge in the break room — and routinely wipe your phone with alcohol to keep germs at bay.
According to MarketWatch, these four office items also harbor more bacteria than the office toilet:
- Purse: The insides of purses are ridden with bacteria because they’re seldom cleaned and often carry items ranging from food to hair combs.
- Desk: Your desk has about 14 times more bacteria than the office toilet seat. If this grosses you out, you better get out the antibacterial wipes and start cleaning.
- Keyboard and mouse: Gerba said these common office items are secretly teeming with germs because you touch them a lot and they also hold on to other gross things like food crumbs.
- Elevator button: Before you press “up,” you may want to consider taking the stairs (or wipe it down first). The first-floor elevator button is covered in germs.
Germs and bacteria aren’t just gross, they can make you sick. To do your part in keeping yourself and your colleagues healthy, start by getting vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises, and then be sure to wash your hands frequently, and stay home when you’re sick. For more suggestions on how to stop the spread of germs at work, home and school, check out this list of tips from the CDC.
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