ATMs Are As Dirty As Toilets

You might want to wash your hands after the next time you take money out the cash machine. A new study shows that when bacteria harvested from both were compared, ATM keys were as dirty as the seat in a public bathroom.

The scientists swabbed the keys on a busy ATM, as well as the the seats in a public bathroom. Both contained pseudomonads and bacillus, bacterias which can cause illness and diarrhea.

The study was sponsored by BioCote, a company that makes an anti-bacterial coating that, among other things, can be used on ATM keys, and therefore would have a keen financial incentive interest in publicizing findings like these.

Cash machines ‘as dirty as toilets’ [The Telegraph]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Hmmm… a study that found bacteria in public places was sponsored by a company that manufactures anti-bacterial coating for public places.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      Who’d have thunk it.

      The thing that spooked me was the study by some teen for a school project that showed the level of bacteria in fast food ice machine/dispensers. That was a few years back.

  2. damageinc says:

    Not really surprising….

    Your Keyboard: Dirtier Than a Toilet:

    Your iPhone Could Carry More Germs Than a Public Toilet:

  3. Rebecca K-S says:

    There’s an ATM joke in here somewhere.

    Anyway, that’s not surprising at all. People’s hands are gross.

  4. GMurnane says:

    I’m surprised it wasn’t posed by Phil…

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    News Flash: Toilet Seats Aren’t That Dirty!

    Try these on for size:

    #1 “Urine on the toilet seat. Although disgusting, it is a nearly sterile liquid.”
    Source: Security World

    #2 “In terms of germs, its better to eat off a toilet seat.”
    Source: The Germ Freak’s Guide To Outwitting Colds & Flu

    #3 “Do you “hover” over the toilet seat instead of sitting on it? While 50% of Americans won’t sit on a public toilet seat, your risk of catching something from one is so minimal that you can go ahead and take a seat. Studies by microbiologist Charles Gerba, Ph.D., confirm that the faucet handle in most bathrooms at work have 400 times more germs than the toilet seat.”
    Source: Allison Janse, author of The Germ Freak’s Guide to Outwitting Colds & Flu

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      True Fact: Your ass is cleaner than your own two hands!

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        Makes sense: your ass never touches an ATM.

        • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

          That’s essentially it. Your ass doesn’t touch every bloody thing in creation. Your hands do. In fact, I’d be willing to wager the keypad of you CELL PHONE has more germs on it than the keypad of an ATM.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Six items that are dirtier than a toilet:
      1). Soap

      2). Money

      3). Computer Keyboard (While the average office toilet seat has around 49 germs per square inch, that keyboard of yours averages 3,925.)

      4). Your Phone (25,127 germs per square inch)

      5). Your Mouth (germs per square inch in the millions, the average mouth houses around 700 different species of bacteria)

      6). Laundry (there is roughly 0.1 gram of fecal matter in an average pair of underwear, and
      you can expect up to 100 million E. coli bacteria floating around in a standard wash load containing undies)

      • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

        I wish other people understood how germy laundry is. Totally grossed out by my family members who are so proud that they’re “going green” by A. washing everything together, and B. washing everything in cold water.

        I know that germophobia isn’t necessarily a good thing, but that aside, my germy-laundry-mitigation practices are:

        *change kitchen linens at least every day; hang one hand towel for drying clean things (such as freshly washed dishes and hands) and hang another towel for, say, wiping off a smear of mayo mid-sandwich-making. Backhand husband and children if they ever waver in their maintenance of the towel system.

        *keep towels separate from other laundry

        *wash towels (kitchen and bathroom) in hot water with a splash of bleach (all-white bathroom towels makes it easy to bleach as needed)

        *wash socks, undies and bras in hot water

        • Milch says:

          Your dish sponge is one of the dirtiest things out there.

          • Red Cat Linux says:

            I load my kitchen sponges with soap and water and then nuke them for about 3 minutes in the microwave.

            Alternatively, I add them to the top rack of the dishwasher and let them get washed and baked with the dishes.

            My kitchen sink is also cleaned with bleach cleanser. That poor spong may get replaced often with all the heat and bleach abuse, but it’s the cleanest thing in the kitchen at the end of the day.

          • nonsane says:

            Bsds yr mthr?

        • Kate says:

          Recently there was an episode of Mythbusters that showed that everything in the house is as germy as a bathroom toilet seat.

          When you flush that toilet, did you think the vapor stayed in the bathroom?

    • tungstencoil says:

      Well put. You beat me to it.

    • rbb says:

      Maybe so, but there is still the issue of sitting on the remains of someone else’s explosive diarrhea.

  6. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Aren’t toilets still cleaner than my keyboard?

  7. Gandalf the Grey says:

    Funny, I thought it was just the banks that were dirty.

  8. Erika'sPowerMinute says:

    Which is why I punch the buttons with my knuckles.

  9. TheWacoKid says:

    As GI docs are fond of saying, “the world is covered in a thin layer of feces.” Bacteria like this are everywhere and humans are well designed to deal with it. Stop trying to disinfect the world – it’s making us sicker.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      Yes, this. When I was little, I was told to keep my hands away from my face, but keeping germs away from your body just destroys your immune system.

  10. El-Brucio says:

    Public toilet seats usually have the advantage of being cleaned regularly. I don’t recall ever seeing someone from the bank out cleaning the ATM keypad.

  11. Pheo's ghost says:

    I think all of this concern about microorganisms that are ubiquitous (and always have been) is a misplaced. Our immune systems have evolved to deal with these things very effectively. Some people speculate that recent increases in autoimmune diseases may be due to living in a too sterile environment. And what is the risk of helping bacteria become immune to antimicrobials by overuse of antibacterial soap and the like?

  12. captadam says:

    The “dirtier than toilets!” stories aren’t surprising when you think about them. What touches toilet seats? Rear ends that are inside pants all day. No, I’d rather not touch random butts, but those butts are exposed to far less than are our hands. So, I’d only expect a couple of types of bacteria to be hanging out on toilet seats, while things like ATMs, subject to touching by hands that have been exposed to so much more, would have a greater variety of bacteria on them.

  13. Mulva says:

    Elevator buttons, pens used at check out, the check out PIN pads and styluses, bathroom door handles, shopping carts…

    You have to live a little, build up that immune system. With of course the obligatory “except for those with compromised immune systems, then yes, yes, wear gloves, wash hands immediately, etc.”.

    I wonder if the study that came out years ago that the first stall in a public restroom is usually the cleanest because no one uses it for fear it was the most used was negated by all the people who started using the first stall after the study’s release? Makes me chuckle.

    Too much “awareness” these days…

  14. mike says:

    So…you’re saying ATMs aren’t dirty?

    It’s been said earlier in the comments but most PUBLIC toilets are cleaned everyday with bleach (at least mine are at work). However, I only clean my house toilets once every other week.

  15. qbubbles says:

    I, for one, take every opportunity I can to give my immune system a workout. Of course, I say this as I’m nursing a cold that my germ filled daughter gave me from daycare. Whore.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      +1 for calling your kid a whore. I called mine a bitch once when she was inside my belly trying to extend her foot out of the side of my stomach.

  16. qbubbles says:

    I, for one, take every opportunity I can to give my immune system a workout. Of course, I say this as I’m nursing a cold that my germ filled daughter gave me from daycare. Whore.

  17. MedicallyNeedy says:

    Thought it interesting:
    “There are more slot machines in the United States then ATMs.” Lesley Stahl on last Sunday’s 60 minutes.

  18. cbutler says:

    It is why i always use my knuckle on atms.

  19. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    I think I’ve read repeatedly that public toilets aren’t really very germy, so this isn’t saying much. I, however, do keep antibacterial hand gel in my car for occasions like these.

  20. dumblonde says:

    News reports like this are getting old. Just wash your hands regularly. Everything you touch that other people touch and isn’t kept clean is dirtier than a toilet seat. handrails, door handles, telephones… that’s why the first thing I do when I get home is wash my hands. but seriously, bacteria are everywhere. so what else is gonna be dirtier than a toilet seat? people’s skin?