Sharing is caring, but not when it comes to personal items. While most of us know that loaning out toothbrushes or underwear is a big no-no, there are several other products we should keep to ourselves, or not use at all. Read on to learn why sharing these five items might just be a really bad idea.
Pens and Pencils – Writing instruments can be a major health hazard, especially if you have a habit of putting them in your mouth. Not only can you contract an infection from a pen or pencil that’s been set on a dirty surface, but loaning out that chewed-on writing utensil could potentially make your friends and colleagues sick, too.
Fast food trays – Think of fast-food trays as an item you’re sharing with dozens of strangers. If you think restaurants are regularly disinfecting them, think again. In most dining establishments, they’re only occasionally wiped down with a towel and some water. Experts also warn that you should always keep your food on the paper mat, and never eat food that’s directly touched the tray, or better yet, order your food to go, so it never has the chance of becoming contaminated.
Hairbrushes – Don’t even think about using a friend’s hairbrush or comb. According to medical experts, plenty of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and creepy crawlies like head lice may be lurking in the brush’s bristles and between a comb’s teeth. Even if you aren’t sharing your brushes and combs, you should still make sure to wash and disinfect them regularly.
Phones – Phones are a haven for bacteria and viruses. According to the Journal of Hospital Infection, germs including COVID-19 can live on hard surfaces like your cell phone for up to nine days. If that’s not enough to gross you out, Charles Gerba, a microbiologist with the University of Arizona reported that cell phones that aren’t regularly disinfected can carry 10 times more bacteria than a toilet. And while a cell phone will naturally have germs derived from its owner, the real risk for getting sick occurs when we loan our phones to others.
Deodorants – Most of us would never dream of sharing deodorants, but researchers have discovered that many couples have no problem sharing this very personal hygiene item. Our deodorants and antiperspirants are far from hygienic and pick up the sweat, dead skin cells, and bacteria found in our armpits. Roll-on products are more hazardous than stick deodorants since their wet, gliding motion spreads germs with ease.