Eww! Your desk is grosser than the loo

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In a recent survey of American adults conducted by Booth Research, one in four respondents (25%) pointed to their office as “the germiest place” they are exposed to on a regular basis. Shedding more light on how Americans view the office, the top “germiest” response was selected more frequently than public restrooms and schools (19% and 17% respectively).

And that’s just a survey. This is an evergreen story favored by cable news channels, in which they take a blacklight and shine it around people’s offices and other common areas to see how germy they are. I remember a CNN report from a couple years back in which the reporter had the balls to sneak into Anderson Cooper’s office and show us what a disgusting slob he is. Oh, Anderson. And I thought I loved thee.

Me, I confess to a touch of the OCD when it comes to my desk. I have a family-sized can of Lysol disinfectant (“spring scent”) and a roll of disposable Lysol wet wipes. Not to mention a boffo bottle of Purell that I use with alarming frequency.

But who am I fooling? Not the germs. After all, I eat at my desk. Which means crumbs, drips and schmears that my obsessive Lysol wipes inevitably miss. I might eat a bite of sandwich, wipe my hands, then tap out an e-mail. I’ll take a handful of bran flakes–all right, all right, Cheetos–shove most in my mouth and brush the crumbs off my lap.

All this means my office is hosting an international convention of bacteria. The office john, after all, gets cleaned every day by a very nice lady. She comes by to show me pictures of her adorable grandbaby, then empties my trash and leaves. It’s not her job to disinfect my keyboard.

In fact, according to one study, the desk in your office has 400 times more germs than the toilet seat. Ewwww! Here’s Katie Couric talking about this topic, including the answer to this question: whose offices are germier–women’s or men’s?