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Money Minute: Why the office toilet is your friend [Video]

February 28, 2012|By David Lazarus

Pop quiz: Which is filthier, your office phone or your office toilet?

You're not going to be pleased with the answer.

The financial website MoneyWatch compiled research on the cleanliness of various workplace areas and found that the phone is the single nastiest part of the office. "Apparently, nobody ever cleans or disinfects an office phone," said Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona.

And the rest of your workspace won't win any prizes either. Gerba says desktops and keyboards only get cleaned when they're sticky (ew!). "We routinely find cold viruses on desktops during the cold season," he said.

And don't look for respite in the break room. Coffee pots, sink faucets, refrigerator handles and microwave handles are literally crawling with germs, says Brad Reynolds, North American platform leader for the Healthy Workplace Project.

"On average, these items have at least four times the bacteria levels of the average toilet seat," he said. (Ew!!)

Meeting rooms, elevator buttons, even the office candy bowl are also breeding grounds for microscopic vermin.

And what about the commode?

It's probably the cleanest spot in the building, says the University of Arizona's Gerba. "People wipe it down all the time," he said.

Enjoy the relative safety while you can.

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