Things You'll Find In A Restaurant That Are Surprisingly Dirty

Going out to eat for a big celebration or even just on a random Tuesday night is always a treat. You're likely going to taste something you wouldn't attempt to make at home, and loading up the dishwasher with a full belly becomes a nonexistent chore. Yes, dining at a restaurant certainly has its perks. While we don't want to be the ones to turn you into a sudden germaphobe, there are a few places and things in a restaurant that are surprisingly loaded with germs.

According to WebMD, restaurants in the U.S. are routinely subjected to health inspections that need to be passed in order to stay in business. But even the shiniest of metal countertops and squeaky clean forks can't keep our eyes off the menu. However, studies have shown that traces of E. coli and S. aureus (staph) can be found on menus due to their frequent exchange of hands. Therefore, don't be afraid to give your menu a quick once-over with a sanitizing wipe before you hear the specials.

Time your buffet visits to ensure the freshest experience

Setting the menu aside, another source of germs are the tabletop condiments. According to research from the University of Arizona shown via Reader's Digest, aside from restaurant menus, pepper shakers were shown to have the highest traces of out of sight, but most definitely not out of mind, organisms on and around their surfaces.

You may also want to consider the type of restaurant you are dining at. Sure, buffets offer a great deal and a wide variety of options, but what is often overlooked is how long the food at a buffet table has been sitting out. Food that has been displayed for long periods of time at improper temperatures can be loaded with harmful bacteria like salmonella and staphylococcus. To avoid this bacteria trap, try visiting a buffet right when it opens when the food hasn't been sitting out for as long. Alternatively, choose a popular buffet option that has steady traffic, which is likely a sign fresh food needs to be put out more often.

Again, don't let this news keep you away from the relaxing and social benefits that come with dining at a restaurant. After all, you deserve a night away from the kitchen. Just consider bringing a few hand wipes, timing your buffet visits with their opening hours, and leaving the tabletop spices untouched.