Why your pillow is as gross as your toilet seat

Bruce Barcott at Discovery News draws new attention to the microbes, fungi, and germs crawling throughout your home

After reading this, you might not be so keen on cozying up to your pillow without bleaching it first.
(Image credit: Thinkstock/Pixland)

"The pillowcase and the toilet seat actually have a lot in common," Holly Menninger, director of a project called "Wildlife of Our Homes," tells Discovery News, explaining that there's an uncomfortably large overlap between the bacteria found in both places. Really, when you dig into the details, our homes are kind of gross. "Inhabiting every cubic meter of air," notes Robert T. Gonzalez at io9, "are up to 10 million cells of bacteria." These are among the revelations highlighted in a lengthy story in Discovery that takes a closer look at the microbes, fungi, germs, and other creatures crawling through your home. As for your pillow and toilet seat: Researchers had 40 volunteers swab eight locations in their homes and mail the samples to a lab, where the DNA was organized. What kinds of things did researchers find? Discovery's Bruce Barcott explains:

[T]here is so much overlap between the bacterial strains in those two locations that it can be difficult to tell where a particular sample came from. The similarity isn’t entirely surprising, since the microbes in both places are most commonly associated with human bodies. Among the hundreds of strains present on pillows and toilets are bacteria from the Staphylococcus and Streptococcus families, which typically live on the skin. There are also plenty of gut microbes in both places (which means that the pillows were seeded with what scientists delicately refer to as “fecal contamination”). [Scientists] are finding consistent patterns across the houses they have sampled so far. The toilet seat and the pillowcase always have a lot in common.

Read the entire article at Discovery.

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(via io9)

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