6 Bacteria-Infested Items You Contact Every Day

It's no shock that germs and bacteria grow on literally anything and everything. But did you know that these six household items that you come in contact with are really bacteria infested?

1. Soap

According to the FDA, soap used on the body can contain up to 1,000 colony-forming units of bacteria per milliliter. However, these bacteria are not the gross, harmful and infectious bacteria most people associate with illness. Soap production companies add certain bacterial cells to bars of soap as a preservative; these bacteria are responsible for fighting off harmful pathogens with which your soap may come into contact.

2. “Clean” Laundry

Due to the shift from high-temperature wash cycles with hard detergents to low-temperature cycles with gentle detergents, most of what we think is clean laundry actually contains small amounts of bacterial cells. In a study, researchers found that each pair of “clean” underwear contained on average 0.1 grams of fecal matter. These bacteria also linger in the washing machine to further contaminate future loads.

3. Purse

In a 2015 study, micrococcus, staphylococcus and bacillus were the most commonly identified bacteria on the purses of 145 men and women. These bacteria were found on 95 percent of the purses studied. Although humans carry some of these bacteria on the skin, humans can contract fatal doses of these tiny organisms if the immune system is compromised or if the skin is injured. 

4. Toothbrush

Some of the scariest germs such as staphylococcus and E. coli reside in the comfort of the bristles of your toothbrush. Over 100 million of these microbes inhabit your toothbrush according to researchers at the University of Manchester in England. However, most of these germs already reside in your mouth and probably will not cause illness. Toothbrushes contract bacteria each time you flush the toilet; upon flushing, bacteria are released into the air and could possibly land on your toothbrush. 

5. Coffee mug/pot handle 

A study from the university of Arizona found that 20 percent of the mugs tested contained fecal bacteria, and 90 percent contained other species of bacteria. The bacteria could possibly originate from the sponge or dishrag used to clean the mug, as they can contain up to 10 million bacteria per square inch. 

6. Cosmetics

There are commonly six different types of bacteria found in the average person’s beauty bag; among them are Eubacterium, which causes bacterial vaginosis, Enterococcus faecalis, which leads to meningitis infection and Enterobacter, which causes respiratory tract infections as well as urinary tract infections. 

Contacting these items rarely leads to infection, but awareness is critical to maintaining a healthy home environment.

References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7