Sunday, January 20, 2019

Should you use shopping cart wipes to sanitize your cart at the store?

If you have been to a grocery store recently, chances are you have noticed a stand with sanitizing wipes located at the entrance near the carts. Stores put these here so customers can use them to wipe down the shopping carts in an effort to clean them in hopes of reducing the level of germs or bacteria. It sounds like a good idea, but is it effective and is it even worth it?

Like most public things that get touched a lot by people, shopping carts can accumulate bacteria. While the sanitary wipes can help reduce the amount of bacteria present on the cart, I would argue that they are kind of pointless when you look at the big picture.

In theory the wipes clean the shopping cart so when you touch the handle, you do not pick up the germs. That would be great if the shopping cart handle was the only thing you were going to touch when you are out and about. But the fact is, you will inevitably touch a lot more things other than the shopping cart handle while you are out shopping.

For example, think about the handles on all the doors to the refrigerated and frozen sections. Are you going to wipe those down too? What about the divider at checkout and the credit card swiper? What about all the grocery items that have been touched by other people during stocking and will be touched by more people at checkout and bagging. Then there are any door handles you may have to open on your way home, and don't forget things like your keys and phone that likely have bacteria on them as well.

When you realize how many different things you are going to touch while you are out and about, it makes just cleaning one item (the cart) kind of ineffective. Yes, maybe you will slightly reduce the bacteria on one thing, but unless you are going to go around sanitizing every single thing you touch, it is not really worth it. Since it is not practical to sanitize everything, a better solution would be to just make sure you wash your hands when you get home.

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