The "Dirty" Truth About Porta-Potties

Porta-Potties are Cleaner than Many Every-day Items

 

Many people have a preconceived notion that porta-potties are laden with germs and viruses, and because of that, some people shy away from these 'commode abodes'.  If anything is neglected, conditions would, certainly, deteriorate so keeping porta-potties well maintained and regularly cleaned is the key to ensuring freshness and cleanliness.

 

To the surprise of many, there are any number of every-day items that harbor more germs than your common porta-potty.  Here, we'll briefly cover what those items are – some may not surprise you; but some, probably will!

 

The following pieces of insight are compliments from researchers at the University of Arizona, NSF International (a non-profit public health and safety organization), Initial Washroom Hygiene, the Daily Mail, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Food & Water Watch, and others. 

 

Your Cutting Board

 

Whether acrylic or of the wooden variety, cutting boards can easily be embedded with shocking amounts of fecal bacteria!  You might ask, How? – well, the culprit would be raw meat.  The organs of animals harbor fecal bacteria which ends up in the muscle tissue you chop up on your cutting board.  Whether cutting into a chicken thigh or a pork roast, the teeny cuts left behind by your serrated knife on your cutting board generate the perfect breeding ground for lots and lots of germs that can, easily, cause food-borne illnesses, or worse.

 

Here's a simple remedy:  After washing a cutting board with dish soap and water, take the extra step and soak your board in 2 teaspoons of bleach/1 gallon of water, for about 20 minutes – rinse thoroughly.  

 

Your Laundry

 

You are probably thinking 'dirty' laundry but, even, clean laundry isn't nearly as clean as one would think.  An unwashed laundry load that includes multiple pieces of underwear can transfer a minimum of 100 million E. coli bacteria – who would've thought?  Diarrhea-causing E. Coli from underwear is transferred to the washing machine which is being used as the bacteria's breeding ground. That, in turn, contaminates clothing.  The moist environment adds to the 'perfect storm' for bacteria to exponentially multiply in just-washed laundry. This becomes even more of an issue when just-washed laundry is forgotten and allowed to languish in the washer, too long. 

 

An easy way to disinfect your washer is to wash a white load with bleach before you wash a darker-colored, second load.  One should, also, clean one's washer once a month by adding 2 cups of bleach to the detergent compartment and let the empty washer go through a full cycle.  It is, also, recommended to wash underwear by itself with bleach, on the hot cycle.

 

Your Cell Phone

 

Cell phones pretty much make the world go 'round, but they also generate bacteria 'hot spots'.   A research project by the Daily Mail involved the swabbing of 50 random cell phones and found that the average phone was harboring ten times more bacteria than porta-potty seats.  Most people check their phones, on average, about 47 times each day. Our hands, if left unwashed throughout the day, touch everything from money to door knobs which means those hands, full of germs, are transmitting mega-doses of illness-causing microbes to cell phones, every time they are picked up and used.  

 

Your Carpet

 

Home-buyers long for the look and feel of wood flooring, instead of carpet.  Though it is disgusting to think about, the average square inch of carpet is home to a whopping 200,000 bacteria!  You can count on that bacteria to stay put since skin cells, pet dander, tiny pieces of food, etc, provide a smorgasbord for these gunk-loving microbes.  And by the way, according to Reader's Digest, that 200,000 bacteria/square inch of carpet represents 700 times more than what would be on a toilet seat – Yikes!

 

Your Kitchen Sponge

 

Your kitchen sponge gets the dubious recognition of  receiving “The-Dirtiest-Item-in-Your-Home” award. Ready for some insane numbers? – after some intense culinary research, the results came in:  kitchen sponges are, predictably, saturated with 45 BILLION microbes/square centimeter, and those microbes are mostly in the form of E. coli and fecal bacteria.  Though this may be hard to fathom, Scientific Reports stands by their analysis.  With that horrendous finding, in mind, remedying the filth is easy:  simply place damp sponges in the microwave for 30 seconds – Voile' – your sponge is good to go, again! 

 

The list for grungy items that harbor more infectious agents than porta-potty toilet seats could be a very long one.  Keyboards, hand-bag strap, gas-pump handles, TV remotes, elevator buttons, toothbrush holders, your pet's food bowl – you get the idea! 

 

After it's all said and done, keep in mind that the porta-potty that just offered you coveted relief and convenience truly IS much cleaner than the cell phone you'll use once you're done.  But bottom line: keeping ANY item sanitized that can harbor disease-causing pathogens is the key to keeping germs, at bay!