Which is dirtier, your cubicle or the bathroom? It might surprise you to learn that your desk alone contains over 400 times more germs than the toilet seat. And while we're not suggesting that you move your base of operations into the ladies and gents, we will say that applying a little cleaner and elbow grease to the old cube now and then could have a positive effect on your health.
Here are five spots to tackle first. We've rated them on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the germiest and 1 being pretty darn clean.
5. Fax Machine Buttons.
Fax machine buttons are pretty gross, germwise, but we think they're probably better than they used to be. After all, when's the last time you had to send a fax? Someday, someone will do a comparison of fax machine buttons in 1985 vs. fax machine buttons in 2011. Then we'll really learn something.
How germy? 3 out of 10.
4. The Elevator Buttons.
If you're like most of us, you probably hit the elevator button without thinking. That automatic gesture + plus a good early-morning eye rub = pink eye. If you must hit the elevator button, do so with your knuckle or elbow. Then, don't touch anything with whatever you used to press the button. At least you won't need to worry about anyone else touching you -- you will quickly earn the reputation as the office germ weirdo once everyone sees you helplessly flailing at buttons with your elbow.
How germy? 6 out of 10.
3. Your Whole Darn Desktop.
Never mind the keyboard or mouse -- one of the germiest places in your cubicle is the top of your desk itself. Also, fun fact: Women's desks are three times germier. We're number one! We're number one!
How germy? 8 out of 10.
2. The Phone.
This is the one everyone knows about, but the phone is famously germy for a reason: studies have found as many as 25,127 germs per square inch on the receiver of office phones. Compare that to the toilet seat, which has only 49 germs per square inch.
How germy? 9 out of 10.
1. The Water Cooler.
After reading this article, we are going to skip hydrating and just mainline Mountain Dew. Here is a quote, which will make you actually (and not at all figuratively) sick to your stomach: "Public health organization NSF International counted 2.7 million germs per square inch on some water spigots." You guys, we are all gonna die.
How germy? 10 out of 10. Ugh! Just awful.