1. Your phone.
The good news is that if you have a phone with a touch screen, it’s probably slightly less disgusting than a traditional phone with raised buttons: a recent study out of London found that 24% of traditional phones tested positive for bacteria that cause “skin rashes, respiratory disease, or food poisoning,” while only 3% of touchscreen phones did. The bad news is that regardless of type, your phone would still probably make beautiful, revolting bacteria art when imprinted in a petri dish.
Pick one doorless room and stay in it. Studies show at least one third of all doorknobs of people with a cold are hanging onto that cold for them.
3. Your clothes.
You heard it from ABC news: don’t do laundry. Charles Gerba, a microbiology professor, is quoted as saying, “If you wash a load of just underwear, there will be about 100 million E. coli in the wash water, and they can be transmitted to the next load of laundry.” But how do you know what is an alarming number of E. coli? I mean, it sounds bad.
4. Your (new!) toothbrush.
Not only is your regular, used toothbrush absolutely riddled with bacteria, your unopened brushes might be secretly nasty too: apparently, a 2011 study found that nearly half of unopened brushes had bacteria on them. So now what is there to look forward to about teeth brushing?
5. Your bed.
If your clothes are covered in grime due to your washing machine, but your bedsheets are so thoroughly covered in your own filth — ” dead skin, sweat, drool and hair get sloshed into the mix,” as one study puts it — that it’s recommended you wash them once a week, what is a person to do?
6. Your skin.
This terrorizing news about your own skin, which you’d think you could trust, comes from a WebMD article disturbingly entitled “Human Skin Alive With Bacteria.” It describes a 2009 study revealing that there are well over 100 types of bacteria “thriving in vibrant communities” on our skin, which makes us all sound like very gross SimCities.
Facial hair — particularly mustaches, residing as they do in that gutter-of-the-face zone between the mouth and the nostrils — can, if groomed insufficiently, teem with infectious bacteria.
8. Beer pong balls.
“The beer sterilizes the balls” is the kind of thing you know to be false but allow yourself to believe when you are 19 years old, but still it’s somewhat disheartening to hear it confirmed as a vile lie. Turns out that things touched by everyone’s fingers and saliva and frat basement floors are actually kind of gross.