Do beards contain fecal matter?
The short answer: Yes — but it may not be as out of the norm as you might think.
Last spring, microbiologist John Golobic of Quest Diagnostics tested several beards for bacteria and discovered some strains of bacteria that “are the kind of things that you find in feces,’ in his words.
After uncovering the results, he commented, ‘I’m usually not surprised, and I was surprised by this. There would be a degree of uncleanliness that would be somewhat disturbing.’
To combat the problem, he gave this advice to Action 7 News reporters: ‘Try to keep your hands away from your face, as much as possible.’ He also suggested to wash your hands often and thoroughly clean your beard.
Furthermore, Goloic had detected similar bacteria in a water system and suggested it be shut down for disinfecting.
All this can leave us with a slightly upset stomach, but is this claim really accurate? Are men’s beard really as dirty as a toilet seat?
Yes, but so are other commonly used items.
Here is the short list of things that are just as unsanitary — if not more so!
- ATMs: As dirty as a toilet seat. (Time Magazine).
- Cutting Boards: Up to 200 times more bacteria. (Food & Wine)
- Cell Phones: Up to 7,000 types of bacteria identified. (Healthline)
- Elevator Buttons: 40 times more bacteria. (Infection Control Today)
- Faucets: 21 times more bacteria. (Reader’s Digest)
- Laundry: 100 times more E. Coli bacteria. (WCVB-TV)
- Money: 6.4 times more bacteria. (WSJ)
- Pet saliva: Bacteria plus parasites. (Pet MD)
- Shoes: Definitely dirtier than a toilet seat. Wearing shoes in your house can bring in all kinds of bacteria. (ABCNews)
- Sponges: 456 times more bacteria. (Reader’s Digest)
- Toothbrushes: Absorbs all sorts of nasty bacteria looming in your bathroom. (Men’s Health)
All of this might inspire us to carry around more hand sanitizer, change out our sponges and toothbrushes more often and leave our shoes at the door. But the fact of the matter is, bacteria is a part of life.