Elevator buttons vs. toilets: which has more bacteria?

Which surface has more bacteria? Elevator buttons or toilets? - Infographic

View the news release: Elevator buttons a hidden source of bacteria, study finds

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Which surface has more bacteria: elevator buttons or toilets?

Elevator buttons and toilet surfaces of 3 large urban hospitals were swabbed over the course of a year.

Number of surfaces swabbed: 120 elevator buttons and 96 toilet surfaces.

Samples were tested for several types of bacteria, including Staphylococcus and Coliform bacteria.

Of the 120 swabs taken from elevator buttons, 61% had bacterial colonization.

Meanwhile, only 43% of toilet surface swabs had bacterial colonization, much less than the elevator buttons.

The best defence? Clean your hands!

– Use something other than your hands, like your elbow or the end of a pen, to activate elevator buttons

– Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer

– In the winter, keep gloves on when making contact with commonly touched surfaces

– Practice good hand hygiene- clean your hands before and after touching commonly touched surfaces, especially when sick

About the author

Sybil Millar

Sybil Millar

Sybil Millar is the Communications Advisor for the Ross Tilley Burn Centre, Critical Care and Infectious Diseases programs at Sunnybrook.

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