Toilets are cleaner than computers

Now wash your hands

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The average worker's desk is contaminated with more germs than a toilet seat, according to a University of Arizona study.

The report, by University of Arizona microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba, says that there are about 400 times the number germs at computer workstations in the US than there are on a toilet seat.

The dirtiest spot on the desktop is the phone, the report said, where about 25,127 microbes live per square inch. The next filthiest area is the desk surface, where 20,961 invisible nasties can be found living and breathing on every square inch.

Keyboards have somewhere in the region of 3,295 germs per square inch, followed by the mouse, fax machine and photo copier, which respectively have 1,676; 301; and 69 germs swarming across every square inch. Other unclean areas are water fountain handles and microwave door handles, the study noted.

To put the figures in perspective, the average toilet seat in America has some 49 germs per square inch.

According to Dr. Gerba, desktops have become sullied partly because they have turned into tables where workers eat lunches and breakfasts. This, combined with the fact that desks are not frequently cleaned in the same fashion as tables, makes them the perfect cafeteria for micro-organisms.

"We don't think twice about eating at our desks, even though the average desk has 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet," Gerba has said. "Without cleaning, a small area on your desk or phone can sustain millions of bacteria that could potentially cause illness."

What's more, office workers infected with a cold or flu bug pollute the workplace further each time they touch common items like photocopiers or the microwave. Such surfaces, according to Dr. Gerba, can become germ transfer points for viruses and germs for up to 72 hours.


Related Products
Buy the Klear Screen 2oz LCD Screen Cleaner Starter Kit
from The Reg mobile store


Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.