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Disease Prevention

Toilet Seats Test Cleaner Than Office Spaces


Desk surfaces average 100 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, according to study results.

Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist for the University of Arizona, tested bacteria levels in typical office environments. Out of the 12 surfaces tested, toilet seats had the lowest bacteria levels, while desk surfaces and telephones ranked the highest.

Results

The top six bacteria-harboring office items and their average number of bacteria per square inch:

    1. Telephone – 25,127

    2. Desk Surface – 20,127

    3. Keyboard – 3,295

    4. Mouse – 1,676

    5. Fax machine – 301

    6. Photocopier – 69

All of the offices that were tested had one thing in common which was that none had extensive use of disinfectants.

Decreasing Bacteria Growth

  • Clean personal office items and surfaces at least once per day with antibacterial wipes.
  • If a meal is eaten at a desk, ensure that crumbs and spills are cleaned up properly.
  • Antibacterial hand soaps and dishwashing liquids do not disinfect hard surfaces. Antibacterial spray used with paper towels and antibacterial wipes made for hard surfaces are effective. Be sure to read label information and follow directions.
  • Disinfecting wipes can be used on telephones, mouses, keyboards, and other hard surfaces if unsure when last cleaned.

Address: Dr. Charles Gerba, University of Arizona, 429 Shantz Building, Tucson, AZ 85721; (520) 621-6906, www.arizona.edu.


© 2006 Health Resources Publishing