How to Disinfect Germ Hot Spots

How to kill the germ jungle (or at least protect yourself from it).

Cleaning a kitchen work top
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Out and About. Prepare for betrayal. Germs thrive on the very e-reader you treasure, along with the tablet you saved up for, and the phone you can't put down. And think, when you place that phone to your mouth and breathe moist air, you're begging for phone acne, or "phacne." Regulary wipe these electronics with disinfectants.

Buses and trains also make excellent homes for germs, which is probably not a surprise to folks who have sat beside someone who coughed through the commute, or have gripped a community bar, railing, or handle for stabilization. Anywhere from 400 to 1,000 people ride a city bus each day, Gerba says, and they're bringing along their viruses.

Another germ hotspot is grocery stores, specifically the cart handles and self-checkout machines. Gerba doesn't even use self-checkouts anymore after studying the germs that live on these screens, likely because disinfecting them is low on employees' priority lists.

For mass transit, grocery stores, and another germ haven—elevators—Gerba suggests that folks arm themselves with hand sanitizer. "You can't disinfect everything you're going to touch; you're always gambling," he says. "But really, [hand sanitizer] is the best defense. You want the odds in your favor."