20 Unsanitary Things People Do Without Realizing It

You might think you are the cleanest person in the world, but this list could convince you otherwise. Here are some things most people don't do consciously that are actually pretty disgusting.

December 8, 2016
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1. Spitting on Cake When Blowing out Candles

It’s finally your birthday. Your best friends and family come over to celebrate you, talk about how amazing you are, give you presents, and just celebrate you. Finally it’s time for the delicious birthday cake to come out and your loved ones begin singing “Happy Birthday” to you.

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It’s a fun moment and you probably don’t even realize what you’re about to do. You’re about to say thank you by covering the cake with your saliva and bacteria when you blow out the candles. You may think you’re being delicate when you blow out the candles, but no matter how hard you try not to spit or spread your germs, it is inevitable that you will. To be sure this doesn’t happen on your next birthday, lose the candles on your future cakes to avoid this problem or celebrate with cupcakes and put candles on just one.

2. Backpacks

Think about the places you set your backpack throughout the day. Dirty places like gym floors, bathrooms, bus seats, car floors, and any other gross place you can think of. Classroom experiments at Kansas State University found the bottom of a backpack to be dirtier than the top of a toilet seat. Can you believe that?

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A big reason for this is that you rarely wash it, possibly due to its material or you think that since it only holds books, papers, and writing utensils it couldn’t possibly get too dirty. To make sure your backpack isn’t disgusting and filled with gross germs, be sure you buy one with material safe for the washing machine and wash it weekly.

3. This video is a must-see for anyone who uses a shower loofah:

4. Dirty Makeup Brushes

Makeup brushes are incredibly dirty from things like old makeup, bacteria from your skin, and bacteria from the environment (which could mean things like fecal matter depending on where you store your brushes). Super dirty makeup brushes can cause cause pink eye, skin irritation, excessively oily skin, and even acne.

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If you share makeup with friends, be aware that makeup brushes have the potential to spread diseases like herpes as well. Clean your brushes regularly with some baby shampoo  depending on how often you use makeup. Even if you don’t use makeup often, it’s a good idea to keep those brushes clean so you’re looking flawless the next time you decide to get all dolled up.

5. Pumping Gas

Kimberly-Clark Professional performed a study to find the dirtiest things people interact with on the way to work. The study found handles of gas pumps to be the dirtiest.

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Another study from the University of Arizona found that 71% of gas pump handles are contaminated with germs strong enough to make you ill. Two of the biggest reasons for this are that countless drivers with dirty hands constantly touch the handles throughout the day and no one ever cleans them.

6. Eating While Bowling

There’s no doubt about it, bowling alley food is downright delicious – fries, pizza, nachos, you name it! Sticking your digits in those germ-ridden bowling ball holes and then in your mouth is pretty gross when you think about it.

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Think of all the places your hands touch before you even get a chance to order the food. You have to pick up your shoes, pick out your ball, and then enter your information into the computer for the scoreboard. If you decide to eat some bowling alley food, be sure to do it in between games to minimize germ exposure.

7. Taking Your Phone in the Bathroom

People take their phones everywhere from the kitchen to the bathroom to pretty much any place your could imagine that are often breeding grounds for germs.

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Cellphones are often stored in warm places that promote bacteria growth such as purses or pants pockets. As a result, they have more bacteria on them than public toilet seats, doorknobs, soles of shoes, kitchen counters, or even a pet’s food bowl. This massive amount of bacteria pressed against your facial skin dramatically increases your likelihood of getting acne.

8. Touching Shopping Carts

Shopping carts are actually pretty disgusting. A University of Arizona study found that 72% of shopping cart handles had traces of feces on them. If you think about it though, nobody probably ever cleans them and they are handles by hundreds of different people on a daily basis.

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If you’re wondering how you can ever use a shopping cart again knowing this information, simple bring an anti-bacterial wipe with you the next time you go shopping and wipe that handle down as thoroughly as possible. Then be sure to wash your hands as soon as you get home.

9. Stepping on Bath Mats

One of the dirtiest places in your bathroom is actually the first place you step after cleaning yourself. Because the mat is wet and left to dry on its own, it often houses mold and bacteria. This is especially true for bath mats shared by family members, because the mats are frequently wet, prolonging their drying times.

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To minimize the amount of bacteria on your mat, be sure to hang it after each use and wash it at least once each week.

10. Sleeping on Dirty Bed Sheets

You may not consider your sheets to be a cespool for germ and bacteria but they actually really are. Philip Tierno, a microbiologist and pathologist at the New York School of Medicine has a lot to say about the cleanliness of your sheets.

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He says that spores of fungi, bacteria, pollen, lint, as well as bodily excrements like sweat and saliva are all thriving in your dirty sheets. He adds that eating in bed, thus adding food particles to the mix, provides an ideal environment for these bacteria to thrive. The bottom line is that you should wash your sheets every couple of weeks.

11. Swimming in Public Pools

Summer days can seem unbearable in some parts of the country. With triple digit temperatures, sometimes staying indoors and basking in the glory of air conditioning simply isn’t enough. What you really need is a swimming pool and some good friends to beat the summer heat. But before you head to your local pool, you may want to think again.

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A 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that nearly 80 percent of routine inspections for public pools turned up at least one safety violation. Of these, about one in eight of these inspections found problems so serious that the pool needed to be closed immediately.

12. Eating Hair

Although fast food is extremely convenient for people on the run, it is calculated that a frequent fast food eater will ingest around 12 hairs per year.

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So the next time you’re out and about and feeling hungry, you may want to think again before hitting a nearby drive-thru restaurant.

13. Wearing Perfume

Everyone likes to spray a little perfume every now and then; it smells nice, gives a good impression, and even makes you feel a little fancy. Since perfume is seen as a posh accessory you probably assume that most of the ingredients are delicate and pretty. What you probably don’t realize is that some perfumes contain ambergris to make the scent last longer. If you don’t know what ambergris is, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

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But once you find out, you may never want to wear perfume again. Ambergris is actually sperm whale vomit. Fear not, because not all fragrances use the substance. Do a quick Google search to see if your favorite perfumes contain this delicate yet disgusting substance.

14. Sharing Headphones

Ears are actually kind of gross. They contain wax and all kinds of germs that some people forget to clean. If you clean your ears regularly, then you are in the minority.

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Even if you are cleaning your ears, other people really don’t. So the next time you think about sharing those headphones or ear buds, you might want to think twice about the person you’re sharing them with. Is it impolite to ask someone to use a Q-tip before borrowing yours?

15. Using Old Sponges

Sponges are necessary to keep your kitchen clean, but they get very dirty very quickly. Instead of wasting money by throwing them away and constantly using new ones, try cleaning them. The best way to clean a sponge is by mixing three-quarters of a cup of bleach with one gallon of water and soaking the sponge for five minutes.

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If you’d prefer not to use chemicals, try soaking the sponge for five minutes in full-strength vinegar. Be sure to clean sponges weekly and toss them every two to eight weeks depending on how often you use them.

16. Shaking Hands With Sick People

Refusing to shake hands with someone for no reason is just rude, but during the cold and flu season it’s important to protect your health. If you’re sick, it’s not at all impolite to refuse a hand shake so don’t be afraid to do so—just explain why! Everyone else will thank you. If you’re the healthy one, be sure to have tissues, cough drops, and hand sanitizer handy to keep yourself healthy.

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If you’re the sick one, washing your hands often and coughing or sneezing into your upper arm instead of directly into your hands can help keep your co-workers free from illness.

17. Letting Your Dog Lick Your Face

You’ve probably heard that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than the mouth of a human, so you’ve been happy to receive the sloppy kisses your dog gave you. But a study in the journal “Archives of Oral Biology” concluded that allowing dogs to lick your face is not a good practice. The study found multiple bacteria types that can lead to conditions such as periodontal disease.

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So the bottom line is that no matter how cute and perfect your dog is, don’t let him lick your face. Dogs eat and lick everything and you really don’t know where that mouth has been.

18. Keeping Your Toothbrush out in the Open

You keep your toothbrush in a container at the sink next to the toilet, right? Although you are unable to see it, every time you flush your toilet the contents spray in the air and land on the toothbrush. This same effect happens when a man urinates standing up and the urine causes toilet water droplets to splash in the air.

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Try keeping your toothbrush in the medicine cabinet or as far away from your toilet as possible.

19. Breathing

Everyone releases gas from time to time (whether you admit it or not). What most people don’t know is that the average human inhales one liter of other people’s bodily gases on a daily basis! You also breathe in pollution, pollens, and whatever else happens to be in the air of where ever you live.

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Breathing in polluted air regularly and for an extended period of time can give you health problems in the future such as regular coughing, difficulty breathing, respiratory problems, and irritation of the airways which could potentially result in something more serious.

20. Relaxing in a Hot Tub

Everyone loves to have a relaxing soak in a nice hot tub every now and again. Unfortunately, these oasis-like pools of fun are actually pools of bacteria. The warm and moist environment is a perfect breeding ground for all kinds of invisible enemies. Make sure to bathe thoroughly after you spend some time in one of these. If you own a hot tub, be sure to give it a visual and chemical test it every three to four days especially if it is being used often.

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You’ll also need to change the hot tub’s filter at least once a month and don’t forget to wash the hot tub’s cover on a monthly basis as well. For further maintenance, you’ll want to drain the water every four to six months. To be on the safe side, it is recommended to drain the water every four months if you use your hot tub two times or more each week. This doesn’t really help you if you want to relax at your hotel spa, though.

21. Letting Your Cat Wander Through Your Home

Have you ever thought about what it means to own a cat? They’re great and cute, but think about their hygiene habits. They do their business in a little box, walk all over it and kick litter around, and then they are free to wander through your home with fecal matter on their paws.

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There are many people out there who don’t even like it when people wear shoes in their home. While there isn’t a whole lot you can do about this, one simple thing you can do is to change the litter often.

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