Shopping Advisory: Your Mall Is Gross, Protect Yourself

Jessica Rubin

There’s nothing like a lazy afternoon at the mall to help de-stress after a long week, right? Wrong. A report on CNN shared some disturbing facts about the germs running rampant in your favorite temple of consumerism. And it ain’t pretty. So scroll on down to uncover the eight grossest spots in your mall. Might we recommend copious amounts of hand sanitizer next time you head out for some retail therapy?

Restroom sinks and soap dispensers: Tons of bacteria, including the dreaded E. coli, cover faucets and soap dispensers, since those areas are handled by people right after they use the toilet. Wash your hands with super hot water and use paper towels to turn off the faucet and open the door.

Food court tables: Even if you see someone clean the tables in the food court, don’t assume they’re clean. The rags themselves can be dirty. So please,please don’t eat food that has fallen on the table. CNN even suggests wiping the table down with a “disinfecting agent” before you eat.

Escalator handrails: According to Charles Gerba, Ph.D., “food, E. coli, urine, mucus, feces, and blood” have all been found on escalator handrails. We recommend avoiding the handrails all together. But if you must touch, use hand sanitizer afterwards.

ATM keypads: These buttons are a hotbed of germ activity. Try “knuckling” in your code. And of course, wash up afterwards.

Toy stores: Think about how much snot there is flying around elementary schools and playgrounds. Then think about the main consumer target for toy stores. Yep, they’re full of germs. If you buy something for the little tyke in your life, make sure you wipe it down before you let them run wild with it.

Fitting rooms: When you try clothes on, keep in mind that you’re not the first person tugging your head through that sweater and slipping on those jeans. Make sure you wear your skivvies when heading out to the mall, and always wash new clothes before you wear them!

Gadget shops: A recent report found that of four iPads tested in Apple stores, one contained the bacteria that caused staph infection. So before you check out a tech toy, make sure you wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe.

Makeup samples: This one’s pretty obvious. Almost all makeup tested at various makeup counters contained bacteria that cause staph, strep, and E. coli. Try not to use the samples at all. There really isn’t a safe way around this one. If you have to test things out, do it on the back of your hand and then wash them. But please don’t apply samples to your lips, eyes and face. It’s the easiest way to sour a shopping trip.

We know it’s gross … but when it comes to germs, ignorance is definitely not bliss.

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