Do you think the toilets at your workplace are dirty? Think again. The teabags at your office are way dirtier and germ-infested. You heard that right! Scientists have discovered that office teabags can carry as many as 17 times more germs than a toilet seat. As per the researchers, the average bacterial reading of an office teabag was 3,785, in comparison to only 220 for a toilet seat. The study, conducted by Initial Washroom Hygiene, analysed the bacterial readings of kitchen utensils and appliances. According to a report in the Independent, other pieces of kitchen equipment also stacked up highly in their findings, with bacterial readings averaging at 2,483 on kettle handles, 1,746 on the rim of a used mug and 1,592 on a fridge door handle. While we do ensure that our hands are washed after we use the washroom, we need to perhaps start doing the same after going to the office kitchen as well. A poll of 1,000 workers revealed that 80 percent of people working in an office wouldn’t think to wash their hands before making drinks for colleagues. It’s sort of terrifying to imagine the amount of germs that could be flying around the office when you’re obliviously sipping your tea. According to the report, Dr Peter Barratt of Initial Washroom Hygiene believes that offices should be more aware of the levels of hygiene in their communal kitchens. Barratt says, “If you stop to think about the number of different hands that touch things such as the kettle handle, tea bag box lid, mugs, and so on, the potential for cross contamination really adds up.” He further adds that using anti-bacterial wipes on kitchen surfaces and regularly cleaning the mug can pay huge dividends in terms of maintaining a healthy workforce. It’s especially important to be wary of germs during this time of year, since the Norovirus, commonly referred to as the “winter vomiting bug”, has been known to spread rapidly by touching contaminated surfaces or eating foods that are rife with bacteria.