You may reach for the hand sanitizer every time you hear someone in office cough or sneeze — but what about after reaching into your wallet?
While most of the things we touch and use on a regular basis are pretty dirty, money may be one of the filthiest.
Just how dirty is the money in your wallet?
According to several studies, the surfaces of U.S. currency are a hotbed for bacteria that can cause infections ranging from pneumonia and diarrhea to even kidney failure.
In addition, dollar bills are also known for hanging on to drugs, DNA, fecal matter, mold and other types of harmful germs that can survive for months.
One study analyzed genetic material on 80 separate $1 bills and found ‘roughly 3,000 types of organisms, including bacteria linked to pneumonia, food poisoning and staph infections.’
So for any cash that doesn’t accidentally get left in a pocket and make it into your washing machine — you can assume it’s probably pretty dirty.
According to the Federal Reserve, most bills are in circulation for about four to 15 years — and the longer they’re out there, the dirtier they are. When it comes to coins, it’s even worse — U.S. coins change hands for about 25 years.
Moral of the story? Pick up some hand sanitizer next time you’re at the dollar store — and use it after you pay.