Germs. You can’t see them, but they are everywhere, especially in their most devastating forms - bacteria and viruses.
As much as we may not want to think about these microscopic and disease-causing creatures, doing so can help you and your family stay healthy.
It’s no secret that you should immediately wash your hands after returning home from work, school, or basically anywhere, especially places with loads of people such as in grocery markets, on public transportation and or airports.
But how dirty are the everyday surfaces inside and outside of your house, and which ones are particularly guilty of harboring the bacteria and viruses that make you sick? And more importantly – what's the best solution to combat them?
To help you stay prepared and germ-free, we rounded up some surprising facts about germs found on everyday surfaces and covered a few other common germ concerns.
What surfaces have the most bacteria?
Let’s start by saying a kitchen sponge has over 2.7 million germs.
Yeah, we agree. That's pretty gross, mainly since many of us use our kitchen sponge to clean multiple times per day.
Of course, that’s not the only everyday item that serves as a hotspot for germ activity.
While your kitchen sponge may claim a top spot on the list, these other common items aren’t far behind:
- Kitchen sponge - over 2,700,000
- Refrigerator door handles - 138,000
- Keyboard/mouse - 79,000
- Public drinking fountains - 70,000
- Cell phones - 25,000
- Desktops - 21,000
- Remote controls - 17,000
- Shopping Cart Handles - 13,800
- Restaurant condiment bottles - 3,500
- Dollar bills - 3,000
- ATM Buttons - 3,500 per button (50,000 if you’re entering a 4-digit pin code + ENTER)
How long can germs live on surfaces?
The lifespan can vary from surface to surface and from germ to germ. Many germs will have a longer lifespan on hard surfaces, like plastic, metal, and steel, than on softer surfaces like fabrics. Temperature and humidity also affect lifespan.
How long can germs live on a surface? This depends on many factors, including the surface type, and the bacteria or virus type. In general viruses can survive on indoor surfaces from 24 hours to seven days, but are infectious for only about 24 hours. Those on metal, plastic, and other hard surfaces can live longer than they would on soft surfaces and plastic.
How long does the flu virus last?
Typically, the flu virus can survive about 48 hours, though some studies suggest it can remain active for up to 3 - 17 days in certain conditions.
How long can coronavirus live on a surface?
Experts continue studying the coronavirus closely, but the most recent studies suggest that deadly virus that's making daily headlines can live for 2 hours to 9 days on surfaces.
Some other virus and bacteria survival rates across surfaces are:
- Cold viruses: 24-hours - 7 days.
- Salmonella: 4 to 7 days
- Listeria - 1 day - several months
- MRSA (Staphylococcus aureus) - 7 days - 7 months
How do germs spread on surfaces?
Germs can make contact with surfaces in several ways. One way is through contact with an already infected surface, like dirty hands or pieces of contaminated food.
They can also spread when a person coughs or sneezes, releasing infested droplets into the air and onto surfaces.
Once on a surface, they can spread when a person, animal, piece of equipment, or other physical item touches the germs and then another surface.
That means that a dirty sponge can accelerate the spread instead of stopping them. The same is true for porous napkins, dish towels, and tissues.
What temperature do germs die?
Many factors must be considered when discussing temperature and germs.
Some, like those viruses responsible for the cold and flu, can thrive in lower temperatures as low as 32 - hence the spike in flu cases in the winter months.
In higher temperatures -the growth of cold and flu viruses can diminish, and studies suggest the flu virus will die at 167 F - 212F.
Unfortunately, our bodies won't typically tolerate temperatures that high, which is why heat isn't an excellent way to control cold and flu viruses in your household.
Other germs, like the bacteria associated with food-borne illnesses, can thrive in a wide temperature range - 40F - 140F.
Warmer or cooler food to temperatures outside of that range can prevent or stop the growth of bacteria.
Is there such a thing as good bacteria?
Yes, over time, good bacteria have evolved alongside us. These bacteria live on and under our skin and inside our intestines.
They can help us break down foods, absorb nutrients, and protect our bodies against harmful bacteria.
Does hand sanitizer kill germs?
Yes, hand sanitizer does kill germs, but not without potential risks. Most skin sanitizing products contain a minimum of 60% alcohol or ethanol: many higher. These levels are needed to be effective. These chemicals are non-discriminatory and kill both bad and good germs.
Aside from damaging the good bacteria your body needs, hand sanitizing gels can also be toxic if ingested and harmful to the eyes. That can make it taboo for anyone with young children. Hand sanitizers and the chemicals in them can also lead to dry and irritated skin.
That's why it's essential to find germ-fighting solutions, like silver anti-microbial products, that are as effective as they are gentle.
Germs are unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you need to surrender to them. With the right knowledge and tools, you can fight viruses and bacteria both inside and outside your home.
Keeping yourself or your family safe doesn’t need to be hard or result in a pantry full of harmful chemicals.
At TRU47, our goal is to provide safe and natural ways to fight germs. Our 99.99-percent pure-silver woven cloths are chemical-free and our colloidal silver products with pure essential oils are carefully crafted with the finest ingredients. Silver is scientifically proven in many published studies to kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses on skin, devices, and surfaces.
For more information on the amazing benefits of silver and sources referenced for this blog please visit or Science and Research page.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and the products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Refrain from using if allergic to silver.