Which Has More Germs – A Restaurant Tray or a Park Sandbox?

I’m a bit of a nut about washing my hands. I think I’ve even written about this before as it’s a bit ironic that I want to wash my hands all the time but don’t find the need for antibacterial soap or hand ‘sanitizer.’ Why not? Because not all germs are bad and in fact most actually help you have a healthy immune system. 

Germs are generally benign. In fact, according to Scientific American:

“Most bacteria are well-behaved companions. Indeed, if you are ever feeling lonely, remember that the trillions of microbes living in and on the average human body outnumber the human cells by a ratio of 10 to one. Of all the tens of thousands of known bacterial species, only about 100 are renegades that break the rules of peaceful coexistence and make us sick.”

So how do ‘germy’ places rank? According to recent NSF International Swab Testing:

[These numbers represent colony-forming units (CFUs) per square inch. A CFU is a measurement of microbial organisms.]

* Store shopping cart: 2
* Restaurant-restroom door handle: 4
* Children’s library book: 7
* Stuffed toy in a doctor’s office: 8
* School-desk surface: 12
* School computer mouse: 23
* Store floor: 33
* Public-park swing: 59
* Restaurant tray: 204
* School musical instrument: 262
* Video-game controller in an arcade: 551
* Public-park sandbox: 7,440
* Classroom faucet handle: 32,000
* Cafeteria water-fountain spigot: 62,000

ICKY! But as long as you wash your hands you are just fine. Here’s a CDC primer:

* Apply soap (regular soap works just as well as antibacterial and poses less risks). I use the Shaklee Hand Wash concentrate
* Rub hands together vigorously to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
* Continue for 20 seconds! It takes that long for the soap and scrubbing action to dislodge and remove stubborn germs.
* Need a timer? Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” all the way through – twice!
* Rinse hands well under running water.
* Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer.
* If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.


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