1. Your Desk--Office desks have hundreds of times more bacteria per square inch than the toilet seats in those same buildings. Wipe down your phone, keyboard, monitor, and desk with disinfectant wipes at least once a day and avoiding eating in front of your computer. Food particles contribute to germs.
2. The Break Room's Refrigerator Door---In a study by the American Dietetic Association, 44 percent of office refrigerators are cleaned on a monthly basis--22 percent are cleaned just once a year. Anything that leaks or spills can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Half of the most commonly touched surfaces in an office--like the fridge--can become infected with a sick person's germs by lunchtime. So make sure you wash your hands!
3. Sinks--A study identified 19 groups of bacteria in public restrooms. The sink may be the most germ-ridden surface of them all since the dampness lets microorganisms survive.
4. Hand Dryers--Rubbing your hands under a traditional dryer can boost the number of bacteria on your skin by up to 45 percent. Use paper towels to dry and to open the door as you leave.
5. ATM's--95 percent of people wash their hands improperly, so ATMs are a hotspot for germs. A study found that each key on an ATM has an average of 1,200 germs, including E.coli and cold and flu viruses.
6. Cold, Hard Cash--Each bill contains an average of 26,000 bacteria. Stash hand sanitizer in your car and scrub off as soon as you leave the bank.
7. Grocery Carts--Wipe the handle down with sanitizing wipes. In addition to germs from other shoppers and kids, raw meat can leak on the cart. Wrap meat packages in a plastic bag before putting them in your cart.
8. Reusable Shopping Bags--They're better for the environment, but you could be taking bacteria back and forth to the store, too. Ninety percent of shoppers don't wash these bags regularly. Researchers found coliform bacteria from raw meat and E.coli in almost every reusable bag they sampled. Machine- or hand-wash your bags between uses and use separate bags for meat and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination.
9. Hotel Room TV Clickers and Light Switches--A study found these two things are the most contaminated items in hotel rooms. Pack your own wipes to clean off the surfaces you touch every day.
10. Maid's Cleaning Cart--They're packed with bacteria, meaning there's a high risk of transferring those germs from one room to another. If you're there for less than a few days, hang the Do Not Disturb sign to keep bugs from other rooms during your stay.
11. Gym Weight Equipment—A study found cold-causing viruses on 63 percent of the gym equipment. Researchers also found that weight equipment was contaminated more often than aerobic equipment--73 percent versus 51 percent. Even worse: Disinfecting twice a day didn't do anything to lower the virus count since plenty of people still use them between wipe-downs. Pack your own hand sanitizer to use between sets.
12. Weight-lifting Gloves--Researchers found that staph bacteria found on weights and machines bind to polyester, which is the material used in many gloves. Ditch the gloves--not only will you avoid some of the germs, you'll strengthen your grip and forearms when you lift without them. Remember to be extra careful about keeping your fingers off of your face during your workout and wipe sweat with your forearm or clean towel.