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Is under your fingernails really dirtier than a loo seat? #GrossTuesdays

Hi, I have some bad news to share with you all. Oh god, guys this is bad. Real bad. So bad I am pulling this face at the computer as I write. A level of repulsion that only a gif can truly capture.


There’s something you’ve probably heard before, but you can’t remember from whom and you never thought to check if it was true or not. You buried it deep in the back of your brain, because it was too gross to think about. Here’s the myth I’m talking about: that there are more germs underneath your fingernails than there are on a loo seat.

Well folks, I did a little digging and it turns out, it’s not a myth. It’s a fact. A really, really gross one.

Scientists at Birmingham’s Aston University tested the fingernails of 100 men and women for potentially harmful bacteria. It turned out 24% of the men and 15% of the women had bacteria that could cause diarrhoea and vomiting lurking underneath their fingernails.

How did these bacteria get there? Well, we used our hands for pretty much everything, and while we wash our hands (hopefully) regularly, bacteria can still get trapped under fingernails where they can grow and flourish – like Neville Longbottom in Herbology.

But what’s worse is, I’ve barely scratched the surface of things that are dirtier than a loo seat. Here are four of the most… well, gross.

Your phone


In a 2013 study, British researchers swabbed 30 tablets, 30 phones, and an office toilet seat. The tablets had up to 600 units per swab of staphylococcus (also known as staph, which can cause severe stomach sickness) and the phones had up to 140 units. Meanwhile, the typical toilet seat had less than 20 units. This shouldn’t be that surprising since 75% of people say they use their phones or tablets while on the loo. *studiously avoids eye contact*

Your clean washing


“But my washing is clean,” I hear you saying. “I know it’s clean because I just bloody washed it!” I know, I know, the world is unfair. It turns out, a load of knickers will transfer at least 100 million E. coli bacteria – the nasty one that gives you diarrhoea – to your clothes. Maybe we’ll put that wash on again…

Your handbag


If the bottom of your handbag looks anything like mine, this one probably won’t come as that much of a shock to you. At any one point in time there are destined to be crumbs, an open sugar packet, three mints, a tampon and some unidentifiable sticky substance at the bottom of my bag.

When British researchers studied 25 handbags, they found that the average handbag is three times dirtier than a toilet seat. Brilliant. While handles carried the most bacteria, items inside the bag were still pretty grim —hand and face creams and lipsticks were the dirtiest. Maybe it’s time throw out that New Look backpack you’ve had since 2012? Maybe.

Your keyboard


I’m shuddering typing this. When British researchers swabbed 33 keyboards in a London office, they found that there were up to five times more germs hiding in between the cracks of keys the the germs of a toilet seat. We’re feeling less like QWERTY and more like queasy.

If, after reading this, you’re considering submerging all of your electronics in a bath full of Dettol, breathe. We’ve been living with germs for ages, and we’re all FINNNNNNEEEE.

The main takeaway from all this? Loo seats aren’t exactly the pinnacle of hygiene, but maybe we need to stop giving them such a hard time. In the mean time, let’s all take a solemn vow right now to never, ever, chew our fingernails again.

Source: Reader’s Digest  

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Image: Katie Edmunds

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