The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

71° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Women: avoid remotes, Men: avoid doorhandles”

If you had to venture a guess as to whose apartments would be dirtier, men or women, many people would say men. And they’d be right — to a point — with a new UA study just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Thirty bachelors and 30 bachelorettes had 100-square centimeter portions of four surfaces from their homes tested — the front doorknob, the top of the night stand, the remote control and the coffee table — in a study conducted by Charles Gerba, professor of soil, water and environmental science, and sponsored by the Clorox Company.

“”If the ­bachelorette is going over the bachelor’s house, avoid that remote at all costs,”” Gerba said. “”If a bachelor is going to the bachelorette’s house, make sure she opens the door.””

Most participants were in their early 20s and from Arizona, although there were others from California, New York and Texas.

“”We had done studies on whose offices were cleaner, men or women, and so we asked ourselves, ‘Does that carry over into their homes?'”” Gerba said. Women’s offices were dirtier in his previous study, due to the fact that 70 percent of women store food in their desk as compared to 50 percent of men, and most food that women store is biodegradable, such as apples or cupcakes.

But at home, the story was much different.

Some bachelor pads carry more than 15 times the bacterial amount than those of bachelorettes, according to the study. The biggest offenders were remote controls, which had the most bacteria on average. Coffee tables were a close second.

But women’s homes had twice the number of bacteria on their doorknobs as men, a fact that, as Gerba said, will make guys think twice about chivalrously opening up the door for their dates.

“”It’s easy to see why women want men to open the door,”” Gerba joked. “”Because they are dirty.””

The reason for such high levels on coffee tables, Gerba said he suspected, is because many people eat at their coffee tables and also put their feet up on them.

“”The coffee tables really surprised me,”” Gerba said. But with 93 percent of all shoes containing fecal matter, according to Gerba, there is no wonder those surfaces would be dirtier.

Gerba said the best way to prevent bacterial buildup before a big date is to be conscientious of cleaning surfaces used everyday.

“”The cleanest place in a home is the toilet seat,”” Gerba said. “”Because everyone is so worried about germs that they disinfect.””

More to Discover
Activate Search