When you board an airplane this month to go home for the holidays, or off to your favorite winter vacation location, or even just for a quick work trip, you may want to bring some disinfecting wipes with you!
Airplanes can see thousands of passengers daily, which basically makes them flying germ incubators.
But that also makes it almost impossible to completely avoid coming into contact with any germs whatsoever. Instead, you should be aware of the dirtiest places on an airplane, and either avoid them or wipe them down before touching! If you're traveling with little ones, let them know what they should and shouldn't touch - and hope to avoid a family flu over the holidays.
3. Restrooms - The Toilet Flush Button
Surprisingly, the restroom doesn't rank first on this list! Probably because restrooms are the most obvious spot for germs to cultivate, they also tend to be more thoroughly cleaned. But it's a good thing they are cleaned so thoroughly, because despite the fact that bathroom stall locks are relatively clean, the toilet flush button ranks as the third-germiest spot on an airplane according to Time.
The airplane bathroom flush buttons are home to about 265 colony-forming units of bacteria per square inch; for reference, household kitchen counters have on average 361 CDU/sq. in, toilet seats in homes have 172 CFU/sq. in and mobile phones have 27 CFU/sq. in, according to the American National Science Foundation. So while the flush buttons are pretty germ-infested, you may want to take a closer look at your own kitchen counter!
2. The Overhead Air Vent
The second-most germ infested part of a plane is particularly concerning, as many people adjust the air vent to blow cool air in their faces during the flight. If the vent is covered in germs, you may be blowing those germs directly into your own face! These air vents have about 285 CFU/sq. in, so you may want to go over it with a disinfectant wipe before turning in on to cool off.
1. The Seat Back Tray Table
That's right! Ranking at number one for most germ-infested is the thing that you eat your food off of. Not only does almost everyone eat off of this surface, many people use the trays as a place to rest their heads during long flights - basically putting their faces right against all these germs.
How many germs are on the seat back tray table? As reference, we know the overhead air vent has 285 CFU/sq. in, and the toilet flush button has 265 CFU/sq. in. Are you ready?
The seat back tray table has a whopping 2,155 CFU/sq. in!
That's almost 10x as many germs as the toilet flush button. Isn't that gross?m Seriously, wipe that thing down. Then maybe consider burning it to be safe (just kidding!).
Now you know what to avoid, what to wipe down, and what to be careful of when flying this travel season.
On an unrelated note, if your flight was a long one, once you get off the plane you may want to try our organic jet lag pills - Jet Lag Rx.