What Grows on the Doorknobs in Your Home?

An image of a doorknob with microbes.

Here’s some interesting trivia:

Viruses can thrive on a hard, non-porous surface such as a door handle for up to 24 hours.

Bacteria, such as Salmonella and MRSA, have all been found to last weeks and even months on these types of surfaces.

Doorknobs don’t dry by themselves as quickly as more pliable, natural materials—and people touch doorknobs constantly without worrying about washing their hands immediately beforehand. 

All things considered, our doorknobs are disgusting. Yet, we tend to gloss over them when we’re thinking of surfaces in our home that need extra attention when it comes to germ-fighting activities. We wondered: Just what grows on our doorknobs—and how worried should we be about the cleanliness of our hands just after we open doors?

How Dirty is a Doorknob?

We did a little digging and found a fascinating study that sought to answer one pertinent question.

Which has more bacteria: a toilet seat or a doorknob?

It’s a question of the ages. Recently, students out of the United Kingdom collected samples from doorknobs and toilet seats and placed those samples in growth medium poured in plastic Petri dishes. They then covered the dishes with plastic wrap and left them to incubate for three days. After that time, the students examined the dishes to see if they could tell whether doorknobs or toilet seats hosted more bacteria.

Per their report, the doorknob had accumulated far more bacteria. The students hypothesized that “The major culprit behind this outcome is some individuals refrain from sanitizing their hands correctly.” Therefore, the bacteria from their restroom visit ends up on a common-use handle.

To a lesser extent, the same thing happens in your home. Whether you’re bringing germs from outside into your interior doorknobs or you’re preparing food and use the refrigerator handle without washing your hands, door handles of all kinds are hotbeds for all sorts of bacteria.

Our next question was: Which kinds?

What Types of Bacteria and Other Microbes Will You Find on Your Doorknobs?  

You’ll find the following potential contaminants lurking on your doorknobs, especially if they aren’t cleaned regularly:

Human rotavirus

This virus causes vomiting and watery diarrhea in young children, as well as fevers and dehydration.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

This type of germ causes infections in humans, ranging from pneumonia to infections in the blood.

Salmonella enterica

This germ tends to spread from food to other surfaces and causes severe digestive distress in humans.

Staphylococcus aureus

S.aureus is found on the skin of humans, and it can cause both skin rashes and harmful bodily infections. 

While COVID-19 was deemed most likely to spread via airborne transmission instead of fomite (or surface) transmission, there have been cases of potential surface contamination.

Are Dirty Doorknobs Dangerous?

Exposure to any of these types of bacteria, particularly on a constant basis, is a bad idea. These bacteria can cause severe illnesses—or, at the very least, cause symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting that you’d likely rather avoid.

While at home, you should counteract this issue by establishing a thorough cleaning and disinfecting routine (followed by applying a germ-busting antimicrobial coating); it may not always be possible or practical to use this as a solution for all doorknob-related health threats.

Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Dirty Doorknobs with a Trusted Moisturizing Hand Soap

As we’ve learned, doorknobs aren’t to be trusted. As one of the highest-touch surfaces in our home, they’re always going to be hotbeds of potential contagion. The problem is, it’s usually necessary to touch doorknobs, and while it’s a good idea to clean them continually at home, you also need to use doors in the outside world.

One great solution? Accept the fact that your hands will be dirty after touching a doorknob, and find an effective hand soap with active antibacterial ingredients that you can use on the go. For extra convenience, use a waterless hand soap that’s gentle on the hands. That way, you can know for sure that no matter what’s on that doorknob, you and your loved ones won’t have to worry about it.


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