6 Overlooked Germ Hotspots Even Clean Restaurants Miss

Salad Bar

Watch out for these often overlooked germ hotspots on your next business lunch.

The next time you are at a restaurant for a business lunch, or for any reason really, you will want to be sure to bring along some hand sanitizer. No matter how clean the restaurant is, if there are other people in it, there are overlooked germ hotspots there too, and those germs are being transferred to surfaces faster than the restaurants can keep up with them.

A post on Cleanlink.com, a website for cleaning pros, details some of the less obvious places germs lurk in restaurants. Research going back for years shows these same places in restaurants keep appearing on the contaminated list, and we compiled 6 of the most common:

Condiment bottles/shakers. The worst is when these are sticky.

Salad bar tongs and sneeze guards. Theoretically, they were clean when the restaurant opened for the day, but how do you know the person in front of you washed their hands?

Ice. Do you like to chew on ice? You may want to spit it back into the cup: Several studies have found that as much as 70 percent of the ice produced in an ice machine contained bacteria, and often at levels higher than what is usually found in toilet water; the horrifying reason: ice machines are rarely cleaned.

Restroom floors. Restroom floors can be home to as much as two million bacteria per square inch. I don’t know why you’d be touching them, but the more you know…

Bathroom doorknobs. Like the salad tongs, they probably started the day clean, but during the course of the day? Likely infested with bacteria.

Lemon wedges. Think long and hard before asking for a lemon wedge. One study found nearly 70% of restaurant lemons tested positive for about 25 different germs and yeasts, including E. coli bacteria, which can cause illness. Most of the germs found were on the rinds, though some was found in the pulp.

So, anyone want to meet for lunch? I’ll bring the hand sanitizer.

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Greg Bussmann
About Greg Bussmann 319 Articles
Greg Bussmann is a Marketing Specialist at Office Essentials. He is a lifelong, proud St. Louisan, a technology enthusiast, and father to four teenage daughters. He spends his spare time providing rides, chaperoning dates and trying to keep track of his credit cards. He also enjoys watching the St. Louis Cardinals when it's his turn to use the remote. Email Greg anytime.