Home Household items 10 household objects that are “dirtier” than a toilet seat: a meta-listicle

10 household objects that are “dirtier” than a toilet seat: a meta-listicle

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I thought it would be fun to write a list things in your house that are dirtier than your toilet, mainly because I wanted you to feel bad about your housework. I soon discovered that I was barely the first the InternetTo hack/listingartist at have this idea.

“X is dirtier than a toilet seat!” is practically an internet subgenre for good reason. Titles like “Your keyboard: dirtier than a toilet” attract attention, and just about everything you can think of, from remote controls to dog bowls, has been compared unfavorably to toilet seats. But why is the toilet seat the measure of cleanliness in the first place? And what does it mean for one object to be “dirtier” than another?

Most of these articles equate “amount of bacteria per square inch” with cleanliness and dirt, but that’s not really a useful way to measure dirt. Most of the bacteria that covers everything is not harmful. Bacteria don’t smell bad. It’s unseen. So how is something covered in invisible, odorless, harmless microorganisms dirtier than something that is covered in, I don’t know, vomit?

And why is a toilet seat the universal measure of “dirtiness”? In most homes, toilet seats are cleaned often, with effective chemicals, especially in relation to the number of times they are used. They are non-porous. They are dry. These are not places for bacteria to grow.

What really happens is that toilet seats are ‘dirty’ in the sense that people sit on them to shit – the dirt is on our minds. Toilet seats are subjectively “dirty” because we know people do their dirty work on them, not objectively dirty, i.e. susceptible to bacteria. Comparison articles grab your attention as they play on the two different definitions of “dirty”, making the bold proposition that your car keys are dirtier than your toilet, challenging you to take a look and find out. that as long as you don’t know what you think you to know be dirty (i.e. places where people play craps), your car keys are indeed dirtier than your toilet seat.

That’s why I’ve judged every dirty thing in your home both in terms of how much bacteria it harbors more than a toilet seat, and how much dirtier it is in terms of just being nasty.