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7 Things You Think Are Germy, But Aren't

by Vanessa Ryan

Really? Bring on those puppy kisses!!! :)

1. Coins-- Germs prefer soft, moist environments. Coins are made of metal, and metal has some antimicrobial properties. They're not a good place for germs to live. In fact, copper, nickel, and silver are antimicrobial and poisonous to organisms. And like paper money, coins are dry.

2. Dog kisses-- Slobber can be gross, but it's not necessarily germy. The dirtiest things around the house are the humans. A human bite is much worse than a dog bite. Saliva has antibacterial products in it. Kids may actually get an immune-system boost from exposure to animals. Children exposed to greater microbial diversity are less likely to have allergies and usually have better immune systems.

3. Toilet-- There's more E. coli in the average sink than in the toilet after you flush it. The seat is especially clean. There's usually 200 times more fecal bacteria on a cutting board than on a toilet seat. You "perceive" your toilet as dirty, so you're more likely to clean it. The areas people don't think about are the ones that get ignored. Still, flush with the toilet lid down to prevent spraying fecal matter and stash toothbrushes in a drawer or medicine cabinet.

4. Jewelry-- Like coins, jewelry made from real copper, nickel, and silver makes a bad home for germs. That's especially true for silver, which is less likely to be made of a composite and can actually kill germs. The metal prevents germs from replicating and dividing. So feel free to swap silver necklaces with a friend.

5. Backyard-- Dirt is dirty, but that's different from being germy. Unless there's a lot of poop from animals, crawling around in the grass is perfectly safe. There are lots of bacteria in your garden, but they're harmless to humans. Watch out for sandboxes, because cats poop in them. They carry parasites kids can pick up.

6. Doors-- Contamination is all about "high-touch surfaces." Many people keep them open, which means the knobs stay surprisingly clean. Doorknobs aren't touched as much as people think. And they're usually made of inhospitable metal. Bacteria and viruses are not going to live there very long. One caveat: The doorknob on the restroom entrance has more germs on it than the exit. It turns out that only 67 percent of people rinse their hands with water after using a public washroom, and only a third of those use soap. Try to stay clear of hand dryers, which can spray around germs.

7. Trash cans-- Bathtubs are germier than trash cans. There are many organisms, but they're not all dangerous. To sterilize your wastebasket, or anything else, use a disinfectant like chlorine bleach, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide. Experts also recommend killing bacteria in the kitchen, where you may not want the smell of these products, with white distilled vinegar. It's clear, it leaves a nice shine, and it's safe for pets and children.

~BS and Vanessa