We’re sure you know that germs can be found in all types of places. However, with Covid-19 still spreading across the globe, it is important for everyone to be extra meticulous and extra vigilant when it comes to their hygiene.

Because of how often you use things or visit areas, though, you might not even realise that a lot of germs thrive in certain places anymore. You already know about sanitising your door knobs, general surfaces you touch and your smart phone. But here are 10 shared places you never thought you can pick up germs.

Supermarkets

Do you use a trolley when you go to the supermarket? Image Provided by Shutterstock.

Grocery stores are filled with products that can transmit bacteria like E.coli and salmonella if improperly stored. Since hands can easily spread bacteria, it really shouldn’t be a surprise that the place is filled with germs. But did you know that according to wellandgood.com, there is a 72% chance that your supermarket trolley has fecal bacteria on it, too?

To take precautions against picking up fecal matter from your supermarket trolley (or supermarket baskets, on that note), it is highly recommended to wipe down your trolley or basket with anti-bacterial wipes every time you go grocery shopping, especially if you’re bringing your kids with you. It would be best to avoid sampling food at grocery stores, also. Also, make sure you sanitise your hands upon leaving and wash them as soon as you get the chance.

Gyms

Dumbbells at the gym. Image Provided by Shutterstock.

Some people who go to the gym get mysterious rashes on their limbs, while some get sick without realising where they got their illness from. Sadly, the gym is filled with germs, too. After all, people sweat there all the time and wipe down equipment with the dirty towels. The next time you hit the gym, bring sanitiser or sanitiser wipes just in case.

A fungus causing foot infections can grow in the shower areas, while a norovirus causing stomach problems can stay on gym equipment for a month. Germs can also be found on exercise balls, dumbbellls, and gym equipment.

Your closet

Rack of clothes. Image Provided by Shutterstock.

We bet your clothes never came to mind, either. Believe it or not, your clothes can have hepatitis and salmonella, amongst other things, because those germs can survive the laundry if they aren’t washed with bleach or in hot water.

To avoid this, use the hot cycle, oxygen bleach, or hydrogen peroxide whenever you can. Conversely, you can let your clothes dry in the dryer for more than half an hour to kill the germs.

To prevent mould and debris from building up in your washing machine, you need to perform maintenance on it as well. Wipe it dry diligently after every use, making sure to reach into the nooks of the rubber gaskets so that slimy algae and detergent residue doesn’t catch on. Every month, run the tub clean cycle with washing machine cleaner. If you haven’t done this in a while, you will be surprised at how much dirt and gunk has accumulated in your washing machine tub.

Swimming pools

Swimming pool. Image Provided by Shutterstock.

Recreational water illnesses have risen in the past 10 years with infectious diarrhoea being caused by certain germs. Pools are easily contaminated by people with diarrhoea who go swimming since chlorine cannot instantly kill the germs involved. Some germs can even survive in a pool for days if the pool isn’t chlorinated properly.

To avoid this, avoid getting pool water in your mouth. If you are the one with diarrhoea, avoid swimming in the meantime. It is also common practice to shower before swimming. If you have young kids who haven’t been potty-trained yet, make sure they wear a swimming diaper whenever they go in a pool.

Makeup counters

Makeup counter. Image Provided by Shutterstock.

How many times have you gone to a makeup counter to dip your fingers into the tester cosmetic products without even thinking twice about it? Now is the time to start being more careful. Stop directly applying testers to your skin, especially near your eyes, nose, and mouth. Testers happen to be huge carriers of germs, and the way you use them could add more of yours to the mix.

If you really want to try out products before buying them, use cotton swabs instead. Use the stick of the cotton swab to scrape products like lipstick before applying it to your lips. If fluids like foundation don’t come in a pump bottle, carefully pour a teensy amount out onto the base of your palm to swatch it. Use clean brushes and tools – not your fingers! – to apply products like eyeshadow and blush. If you have to try out a pencil product, sharpen it before and sharpen it after. Use a fresh, disposable mascara wand to apply mascara. Also, make sure you wash your skin thoroughly after your visit to a makeup counter.

Cinemas

Germs hide inside cinemas. Image Provided by Shutterstock.

Cinemas are always filled with people, some of whom might have a cold or a flu without even knowing it yet. To avoid germs at the cinemas, try not to touch your face when watching a movie and don’t forget to wash your hands immediately after leaving. If you are feeling sick, stay at home for the meantime.

Hotels

Hotel throw pillows. Image Provided by Shutterstock.

When lying on a couch in a hotel, it can be tempting to fall asleep and use a throw pillow as your pillow. Do not do this. Since throw pillows don’t have regular pillow cases, they are hard to throw into a washing machine for washing. Throw pillows need to be specially cleaned, so they might not get thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis. Just stick to the bed and avoid sleeping on the couch altogether to stay safe.

The kitchen

Kitchen sink. Image Provided by Shutterstock.

You might not think this since you always use it to clean your dishes, but the food particles left over on plates that you put in the kitchen sink can harbour a lot of germs that can then spread to food you have in the kitchen or to your hands. Just because you rinse your kitchen sink with water doesn’t mean it’s clean.

To avoid getting germs on clean dishes and clean food, wash your sink with some oxygen bleach and water everyday. Don’t forget to clean the drain plug, too. Of course, it goes without saying to wash your hands afterwards.

The bathroom

Germs can hide in your toothbrushes too. Image Provided by Shutterstock.

The toilet bowl aside, your toothbrush also has a lot of germs on it. After using and rinsing it, you usually leave it there damp, right? Well, germs tend to grow on moist areas. Plus, germs coming from your mouth can also contaminate your toothbrush – not to mention the germs coming from your toilet bowl. In case you didn’t know yet, flushing your toilet sends contaminated water droplets in the air that can float around for hours before landing on things like your toothbrush.

To avoid this, always place your toothbrush somewhere where it can dry and air out properly between each use, and definitely somewhere far from the toilet. Also, always make it a point to close the lid of your toilet seat before flushing.

The dining table

Salt and pepper shakers can harbour germs, too. Image Provided by Shutterstock.

Your dining table harbours germs, too. In a 2008 study done by researchers from the University of Virginia, they found that every salt and pepper shaker tested positive for a cold virus.

To avoid this, don’t forget to wipe your shakers whenever you wipe your dining table, too. Make it a point to wash your hands before reaching for seasonings or just eating at the table.

The best and easiest tip to protect yourself from germs right now is to always keep your hands clean since they can transfer germs to your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Wash your hands with soap and water regularly and for at least 20 seconds with a good amount of friction. While hand sanitiser gels can kill germs, washing your hands is still the better option since hand sanitisers can build up on your hands, too.