If you only wash your hands after using the bathroom, think again. It's not just toilets and bathroom hand-dryers that are loaded with poop particles. Sorry to burst your bubble, but fecal bacteria is all around us.
And to drive the point home, here's a list of popular poopy hot spots, compiled by Popular Science:
1. On computer keyboards
2. In your kitchen sponge, on the kitchen drain, and on your kitchen sink faucet handles (By the way, this same study found that kitchens had more fecal bacteria than bathrooms! Toilet seats were actually one of the least contaminated spots in the whole house.)
3. All over your phone
4. In a “fecal veneer” on indoor climbing walls
5. Hanging out on grocery shopping carts
6. On your shoes (duh)
7. Inside all of your clothes, probably because you wash them with your underwear—which contains a tenth of a gram (!!) of fecal bacteria per pair, on average
8. Surrounding you in every hotel room you’ve ever been in
9. Literally in the air you breathe
According to Popular Science:
The reason “fecal bacteria” sounds so threatening is that plenty of legitimately awful, dangerous diseases spread via poop. Hepatitis, typhoid fever, cholera, norovirus, polio, E. coli, tape worms, giardia, rotavirus—they’ll all spread via the aptly named fecal-oral route. You don’t want to get any of these, which is why we’ve developed an evolutionary aversion to poop in general. It’s just better to stay away from it.
But just because some truly terrible illnesses spread via poop doesn’t mean that the bacteria we find all over everything are dangerous. They just happen to come from poop. Yes, you should wash your hands when you use the bathroom and yes, you can reduce the bacteria on your hands by using paper towels over hand dryers (jet dryers are better than standard ones, but worse than paper towels, according to this exhaustive literature review from the Mayo Clinic).
Obviously living in a poop-filled world isn't something to fear – we've survived this long after all. But for those wanting to know the science behind each shit-slathered item on the list above, go to Popular Science and click on their links.