For Spring Break we decided to gross ourselves out. You may remember THIS POST about 40% off a Bacteria Growing Kit - Petri Dishes from Steve Spangler Science. Well, I bought it and stuck it away in my closet for a rainy day. So over Spring Break we decided to do our experiment. We made the auger and let it "set" in the petri dishes, while we thought about what might be the grossest spots in our house. You know, the most germ-infested places we could think of. We had 6 petri dishes, and decided to split those in half, and rub one swab on each side so we could do a side-by-side comparison of two areas.
Here's what we came up with:
- Telephone vs. Nintendo DS buttons
- AJ's mouth (the boy) vs. Alice's mouth (the dog)
- Toilet seat vs. litter box
- Fridge handle vs. bathroom doorknob
- TV remote control vs. Tablet screen
- Jack mouth (the cat) vs. Zach's toe nails (did I mention he has a habit of biting them?!)
Once our auger set up, we wet our provided cotton swabs and rubbed them on our sample area, then onto the auger. After we had collected all the samples, we put the lids on the petri dishes, labeled them (so we'd know what sample was on each side), taped them closed, stuck them in a cardboard box, taped it closed, and set it in my closet for one week. Here's all of our samples ready to go:
It was not easy to resist taking a sneak peek, but we really wanted to full dramatic reveal after a week of bacteria growth. THIS is what we discovered when we opened the box up!
Above is the telephone and Nintendo DS buttons. Seriously nasty stuff is growing (and it STUNK). Look at the DS buttons....now think about how often my kids hands touch that daily. Then into his mouth, then onto the TV remote, etc, etc, etc. You see how quickly germs can spread.
This is the classic sample of a human mouth vs. a dog mouth. As you can see, there are germs on both. But I'd have to say that Alice's mouth is certainly cleaner than AJ's. In AJ's defense, he hadn't brushed his teeth yet! :)
Here's the fridge handle vs. the bathroom doorknob. Are you surprised to see how much MORE bacteria is on the fridge handle than the bathroom doorknob? I know I was, but then I started thinking about how often I go back into the fridge after I handle raw meat. I always TRY to be careful, but plainly, I need to be better. I now make a conscious effort to make sure I have every, single ingredient out of the fridge (or pantry!) before I start preparing food that includes raw meat or eggs. You will note the distinct LACK of germs on the bathroom doorknob. At least I can take SOME consolation in the fact that we all seem to do a good job of washing our hands afterwards!
The lovely samples you see above are from the TV remote and my tablet screen. Can you say DISGUSTING?! Suffice to say, I took quite some time wiping those down with antibacterial towelettes after seeing this.
Above is the sample of Jack (the cat's) mouth and Zachary's funky black nails on his feet. He wears Crocs on a regular basis, and the dust & dirt from the playground goes straight thru the holes in the front - his feet come home FILTHY! I cannot tell you how many times I have seen him stick his foot in his mouth to "trim" a toe nail. Talk about disgusting. I showed him this, and he said "I will NEVER put my foot in my mouth again." (well, at least not literally!) Mission accomplished!!!!!
THIS is the toilet seat vs. litter box sample. I'd say we're about even! Now, I already KNOW that I have three (OK, let's just be honest - FOUR) boys whose aim is....shaky at best. This was at least a good visual demonstration for them to encourage them to work on their aim!
So.....the moral of the story is this: I am pretty good about keeping a clean house. I'm real methodical about cleaning the countertops and the toilets. What never occurs to me to wipe down, are items like the telephone, remote controls, cell phones, game controllers, etc. Stuff that you handle every single day - I'm missing in my cleaning routine. THIS is what I went out and bought the day after our BIG REVEAL!
You can bet that I have already wiped down all those funky, nasty surfaces already. I plan to keep one of these canisters next to my kitchen sink to remind me to wipe off the oven, microwave, fridge handles on a regular basis - as they are MAJOR germ collectors.