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A Day in the Life of Germs

Jan 17 2019, 09:45 AM

Commuters risk illness as research reveals train seats contain 800 times more bacteria than a toilet


How much bacteria do we expose ourselves to on a daily basis?

Brosch Direct wanted to discover how many germs people may be coming into contact with over a typical winter’s day. To find out, we swabbed ten different everyday items that most of us will encounter on a daily basis, from personal smartphones to gym equipment. We took the results to a lab and analysed the results.

When we analysed the swabs for bacteria, the highest Total Viable Count we found was on train seats. Commuters are encountering over 70,000 instances of bacteria when they travel by train this winter according to our brand new research. This is 800 times higher than the amount of bacteria that was found on a toilet seat.

The second highest Total Viable Count from Brosch Direct’s research came from an item we all have in our homes: toothbrushes. People may think that giving your toothbrush a quick rinse under the tap will keep them hygienic. However, the average person is, in fact, putting approximately 48,000 microorganisms into their mouths when they clean their teeth with a toothbrush.

The lowest amount of bacteria, 10 TVC, was found on car steering wheels, meaning it is far more hygienic to travel by car than commute by train. This was closely followed by gym dumbbells, 48 TVC, revealing that most people will be safe from germs when they do their work out.

Overall, Brosch Direct discovered that we encounter at least 120,000 bacteria throughout the average day.

The full results of the tests can be found in our A Day In The Life Of Germs infographic:



Our research demonstrates that public transport can be a hotbed of bacteria during the wintertime. Germs easily spread when a lot of people squeeze together in a warm environment, and these bacteria can often damage cells to make people ill.

So how can commuters protect themselves from bacteria when they are traveling by train this winter? Make sure to wash your hands regularly to remove any harmful bacteria and prevent it from entering your system. If you’re traveling by public transport, you could also bring alcohol based hand sanitizers with you to kill off any bacteria you might pick up from a train seat.

Next time you’re going about your daily business you might just want to consider your environment and how many other people have been in contact with each item - there may be much more bacteria than you think. Having a good cleaning routine in your personal space and the means to protect yourself from unhygienic items in public will ensure your health and wellbeing.

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