Your average drinking water bottle is more plagued with germs than a toilet seat, according to a new study by TreadmillReviews.Net.
The website swabbed three screw-tops, three slide-tops, three squeeze-tops, and three straw-tops each used by athletes for a week without washing them.
Lab results showed that on average slide-tops had the most viable bacteria cells, with 933,340 colony-forming units per sq. cm. But, only half those bacteria are harmful.
In contrast, the 161,971 colony-forming units found per sq. cm. on squeeze-tops and the 159,060 units found per sq. cm. on screw-tops were almost all harmless.
Overall, the cleanest water bottles were straw-tops, with an average of only 25.4 colony-forming units per sq. cm., and most of those were harmless bacteria.
Toilet seats vs. toothbrush holders
Surprisingly, according to researchers, the average toilet seat only has 27 colony-forming units per sq. cm. by comparison. Meanwhile, on average, toothbrush holders have 331,848 colony-forming units per sq. cm.
People, we need to talk about cleaning that bathroom a bit more often.
It is worth noting though, 12 bottles is a very small sample size and this study has not been replicated.
“Our hope is that our findings will help you make informed choices,” says a release from researchers. “Whether that means choosing a new refillable bottle or simply being more conscientious about cleaning the containers you own.”
If you’re concerned about cleanliness but don’t want to give up your beloved slide-top bottle, researchers recommend:
- choosing stainless steel over plastic
- avoid bottles with hard-to-clean spots
- don’t let your bottle sit in your gym bag
- run it through the dishwasher or hand wash it
- use a weak bleach solution to sanitize it