Do you sanitize your hands before you go grocery shopping? Do you sanitize your hands after you go grocery shopping? You will after you read this.

For the last several months we've been washing our hands and wiping things down more than ever before. In some ways it makes one wonder how we ever survived in the pre-COVID days. But for all our newfound cleanliness habits we still have to go to the grocery store from time to time. While we're there we touch things. Doors, baskets, counters, display racks, they're all potentially germy. Until recently we really didn't give it that much thought, if the place looked clean we figured it was safe. Out of all of those surfaces and touchpoints, what do you think is the germiest?

That's what a team of researchers set out to do and their results were posted in a CBC story online.

Amazingly, the handle of the shopping cart didn't top the list. That's probably because most supermarkets now have someone assigned to the task of wiping them down as they come back into the store.

In fourth place we have the baby seat. Does this surprise anyone? I mean people put their baby there. And we know what babies do. 'Nuff said.


Third place turned out to be a tie between the door handles in the refrigerated sections and the front of the shopping cart. Neither of these surprise me as people open the refrigerator doors all the time and many people prefer to pull their buggy along rather than push it. I once got the dirty eyeball from the buggy handle wiper when I asked them to wipe down all around the top of the buggy cage. After I explained it to him he seemed to understand and started wiping them down as a regular practice.

Second place goes to the handles on the little baskets we grab when we just need to pick up a few items and don't need to be slowed down by the buggy with one wobbly wheel. This surface probably scored so high because most of the attention is focused on the handles for the full sized buggies.

Can you guess what the number one germiest place was in this study? If you said the PIN pad at the checkout register you'd be right. It makes sense when you think of it, everyone who goes to the store touches one of those things. Sometimes there's a stylus hanging around so you don't have to push the buttons with your finger but the stylus is just as much a touchpoint as the buttons themselves.

There's really no way to not come into contact with germs when you're out shopping and some germs are far more troublesome than others so all we can do is all we can do. With this knowledge in hand the wise person will probably choose to keep a small bottle of sanitizer in their car and use it immediately after shopping. Otherwise all those germs that just hitched a ride on your fingers will be transferred to the control surfaces of your vehicle.

Stay safe, mask up, keep cleaning those hands.

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