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Dirty Money: Germs on Money

Updated on October 17, 2010
Does money have germs? (photo by shield/flickr)
Does money have germs? (photo by shield/flickr)

Bacteria on Money

 

"Don't put that money in your mouth! You never know where it's been!" Your mother said so, just like countless mothers for countless generations said before her. While you are trying to conserve money with savings plans, an IRA, stocks, bonds, smart shopping, coin-hoarding, dollar-stretching and a variety of money saving techniques, your mother was more concerned with saving your health.

Moms were not and are not alone. At the beginning of the 20th century, Dr. Thomas Darlington, Health Commissioner of New York City, presided over experiments with bacteria found on bills and coin. On February 24th, 1905, the New York Times reported that Dr. Darlington told the House Committee on Banking and Currency "that it was desirable in the interest of public health that soiled bills be withdrawn from circulation as soon as practicable."

In Japan, moms have had a real impact. There, paranoid parents can go to a "clean ATM" and get their yen pressed between rollers for one-tenth of a second at 392 degrees, enough to kill many bacteria, according to Hitachi, the ATM maker. Explains Terry Kubo, a Hitachi spokesman,"Japanese like to be very clean," adding, "Please be sensitive". It seems the Japanese don't even want to talk about icky germs.

Now Wash Your F***ing Hands!

Separating Clean From Dirty

 

Today, the job of separating dirty money from an unsuspecting public falls to the Federal Reserve. While paper bills are built to take an extreme amount of abuse, the average U.S. Dollar lasts a mere 18 months. "Soil content," as the Federal Reserve tactfully calls it, is analyzed by machine. A new bill scores a 16, and goes down from there according to "soil content." Any bill scoring 12 or less - about a third of those tested - are typically shredded and used for landfill.

Obviously, the Federal Reserves test shows only how soiled money is; it doesn't reveal what soils it. Your mom was right about one thing: you never know where it's been. Witness the exotic dancer with the special talent of removing a dollar bill from a man's face in a cheeky way. Clearly moms across the planet have done a fine job of convincing us money is full of disgusting germs - strippers aside - but is it really? And if so, how filthy is it?

Germs on money
Germs on money
Bacteria found on money.
Bacteria found on money.

Germs on Money

It goes without saying that bacteria are everywhere in the environment and most of these microbes are harmless to humans. Should germs on money worry us? Surprisingly, studies of bacteria on money are scarce. In 1972 a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association studied bacteria from 200 coins and bills and found harmful germs like fecal bacteria and Staphylococcus aureus on 13 percent of coins and 42 percent of notes. The study concluded: "Money is truly dirty."

Another study at the University of California at San Francisco cultured 113 examples of "real life" cash from a deli, a post office, a newsstand, and common places where money changes hands. Most grew harmless organisms, but 18 percent of coins and 7 percent of notes had some less friendly bacteria on them, including the odd colony of E. coli and the potential pathogen S. aureus. Fortunately, the bug soon shrivels on money's dry surface. And with 25 percent of people carrying S. aureus in their noses, it's no surprise that the bug gets onto fingers and money.

Kendall Anderson
Kendall Anderson
ZhahiraRotting
ZhahiraRotting

Lend Me a Hand

 

Anything that gets on hands can get on money. And hands are hardly germ-free. While not the germiest parts of the human body - they're too dry for that - hands have a local population of bacteria quietly grazing on their skin debris. In the late 1930s, the surgeon P. B. Price discovered something surprising about our hands: no amount of washing with soap or antimicrobial agents can sterilize them. "Even after 10, 15 washings," says James Leyden, a dermatologist at the University of Pennsylvania, "bacteria are there by the thousands."

Speaking on hands and bacteria, Leyden asks rhetorically "Where are the hidden cities?" In the late 1980s, he conducted a test where he closed the moist spaces under volunteers' fingernails. "You find hundreds of thousands, even millions of bacteria there," he says. "Sometimes the amount under one fingernail is more than on the rest of the hand." Each time the volunteers washed their hands, the number of bacteria diminished until eventually hardly any were left.

In general, skin resists being colonized or invaded by foreign bacteria. Its outer layer forms an efficient barrier and its surface is too dry or too acidic for many nonresident species. In addition, skin surface oils contain antimicrobials. In the mouth, saliva - our natural mouthwash - contains the antibody immunoglobulin A and germ-killing enzymes. Any microbe that makes it past the skin or the mouth's pink lining must contend with the body's immune system. And any microbe that's swallowed faces the acid test of the stomach. In short, the human body does a pretty good job of protecting itself.

BBC
BBC

Germ Warfare

So what can we do about dirty money and germs on currency? "Money is not a major cause of exchange of diseases, and you should not worry about it very much," said Joe Kitterman, environmental health supervisor for the Riley County Kansas Health Department. Viruses do not enter a person's body through the skin, Kitterman said. They must come in contact with the nose or mouth or through the membranes of the eyes. The biggest culprit when it comes to transmitting sickness is a simple lack of hygiene.

"The most common problem is lack of hand washing," he said. "There are a lot of bacterial diseases that can be spread because people don't wash their hands after they go to the bathroom."

George Marchin, associate professor of biology at Kansas State University, said hands generally must come into contact with the face to spread viral diseases. "The virus gets on your hands, then later you touch your nose or rub your eyes. You really have to massage (the virus) into the membranes," Marchin said. "Washing your hands more often is something the Center for Disease Control recommends." Washing your hands too often though can be detrimental, stripping the skin of its antimicrobials and causing abrasions, making you more susceptible to bacteria.

But a quick pass of the hands through running water doesn't get the job done, said Carol Kennedy, director of health education and promotion at Lafene Health Center, Kansas State University. "I would say significant lathering using soap and warm water.

"Soap is critical. It has been determined that soap and warm water is the best way to prevent colds and that kind of thing." Antibacterial gels can help sanitize in a pinch. "That's a good alternative if you don't have access to soap and water," said Kennedy, "like if you are in class and sneeze or blow your nose."

Barbara Billingsly as June Cleaver
Barbara Billingsly as June Cleaver

Mothers Know Best

 

That doesn't mean mothers aren't right to warn toddlers not to put money in their mouths. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, small coins are the most common foreign objects causing injuries to children worldwide. The danger is choking, not swallowing: a quarter going down the wrong pipe could block the airway and can suffocate a small child in minutes. "Swallowing a coin isn't the worst thing in the world, if the coin lands in the stomach," says Marilyn Bull, a pediatrician at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. In due course the ingested coin should emerge at the other end acid-washed by the stomach, in shiny, almost mint condition.

So, the best way to protect yourself is to keep your fingers and money out of your mouth (even though it wont kill you, it is dirty and icky), don't rub your eyes, don't pick at your scabs, and wash your hands, especially after going to the bathroom. And those are all things your mother told you. Thanks, mom.

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    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      LOL! I really enjoyed this...although, I don't think I can ever eat in a restaurant again after watching that video. Graphic Grossness...ewwwww!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Thanks Spryte! I know! That chef dude has got to go! Thanks for the comment.

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      So this was where you were hiding most of the night? Writing this hub? Any luck with the computer and any progress on your water heater (I'm almost afraid to ask).

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

      Oops we have been warned.  I'm not watching the video. Excellent angle on the topic Cristoph.

      (Do you know what denominations are used in strip clubs?)

      I'm using my credit card for everything now.

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Rochelle...LOL! That just didn't sound right! Hahahahah! Almost as if you were going to swipe your credit card between their cheeks rather than tuck a $ 1 bill into the g-string. Somehow I can't picture you going to a strip club....please, please, tell me I'm right!

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 8 years ago

      Will money laundering help? (wink!)

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      Mums knew best, didn't they? Though sometimes Christoph, too much washing can strip the skin of the good bacteria that we need to keep the bad bacteria away :)

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

      Money laundering-- heh heh

      Spryte, your imagination runs wild-- I was trying to avoid handling currency that may have been through many unknown (low) lives .

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 8 years ago

      Reminds me! Recently I got a shot of MMI-Vaccine. That is guaranteed to protect me from a whole range of intruders from bacteria to rhinos!

      So, if you feel threatened by any of the currency notes you posses, just wrap them up in foil and send it across to me!  :) :)

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Spryte: Yep. Just wrote it. Computer's still bugged and still no water heater. I'm not even sure how long it's been - something like 6 weeks.

      Rochelle: The video is a cartoon so it's not that bad. In strip clubs, they use mostly singles (or so I was told).

      Spryte: Man, when strippers figure out how to do that - and they will - God help us!

      Quicksand: Although I have no proof, I would imagine that actually laundering your money would work quite well. Real hot water and some detergent and bleach. Hey, it kills germs, doesn't it?

      Shalini: Yes, Mums do know best. Regarding stripping the skin of good bacteria, I say that very thing in there somewhere, near the end. Thanks for the comment!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      quicksand: Good idea, but everyone should send them to me first so I can launder them.

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Christoph - You may want to check your horoscope...I bet there is an evil influence in there somewhere regarding appliances and electronic devices.  They say these things come in threes....please tell me your electric toothbrush went on the fritz already and so you've already seen your triumvirate of evil.

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      christoph you must be so totally pee'd off about your water heater as well as  your computer going off on frolics of their own!   my computer died about 6 weeks ago and I am still waiting for the replacement tower - they *tell* me it has arrived onto the wharf in Sydney! great hub although to be perfectly honest once the chef finished pointing percy at the porcelain, forgot to wash his hands and then went back to his kitchen to sneeze green bits all over the pot I was out of there! far too much information. By the way what was the name of that restaurant? cheers

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 8 years ago

      Lol! So making money online is real after all! :)

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      Christoph - I apologise - I skimmed thru and missed the skin antimicrobes bit!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Spryte: Seems like everything electronic has turned to crap for the last 3 months. First, my printer died. Then I bought one on ebay and couldn't get it to work. Then I went and bought a new one at Best Buy, and now my computer won't take the printer driver - which is my problem. I know where the bug is, but I can't get rid of it. I would say I've spent about 40 hours working on the problem. Anyway, no printer equals out of business. I have sought the help of people who are far more knowledgeable than me, but nobody can figure it out. Looks like I'll have to wipe the whole thing clean and start from scratch, a proposition I do not relish.

      Ajcor: "Pointing Percy at the porcelain?" Ha! I think the restaurant is called "That Place Where AJ Eats!" Thanks for stopping in with your inimitable style!

      quicksand: We shall see.

      Shalini: Well heck, don't worry about it. I had to go back and make sure I put it in. Thanks for stopping in!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Once again, I am confused. How can it be that the soil content of the dollar bill goes DOWN ifrom 16 to 12 nstead of UP from 12 to 16 as it gets dirtier and dirtier? Where is our Secretary of the Treasury to respond?

      Here's my favorite line: "And with 25 percent of people carrying S. aureus in their noses, it's no surprise that the bug gets onto fingers and money." No duh! I always tell my son, "You keep that filthy lucre out of your nostril or you'll be sorry."

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Mighty Mom: Leave it to the Feds to get everything backwards! And those dollar bills your son sticks up his nose probably end up in your purse, then you use them to tip strippers, putting the strippers in danger. Please be more careful around strippers!

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

      Christoph- I do like the concept of Check cards unlike credit cards (some people maynot be adept at using credit). Btw that picture of mother reminded me of June Cleaver (Leave it to Beaver).  I guess like the Japs we can have those currency cleaners at ATM's.Great informative hub.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      LOL. Are you a parent? When have you ever, ever heard of money being transferred from a child INTO his mother's purse? The cashflow is always, always, always in the other direction, I assure you!

      As to putting strippers in danger, I am too shy to do any tipping myself (I have my wholesome mom image to uphold after all). I hand my tip $$ to Rochelle Frank and she deposits it as directed.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      MM: That IS June Cleaver! You are certainly the Gal About Hub Town, going here and there and carrying on conversations all over. Thank you for taking the time to visit me and to share your thoughts!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      MM: Well, when you find all the singles stashed in your kid's underwear drawer, for one! You would take them and put them back in your purse. At least, that's the way in was in my house. That little Suzie Barkley next door put on quite a show!

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

      Did you mean CW instead of MM? (I guess it's getting close to bedtime for Mr.President)...LOL

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 8 years ago from New Zealand

      The filthiest money I have ever seen was in india a few years ago: ripped notes were unacceptable everywhere but some notes (and there were no coins at the time) were so filthy you actually couldn't tell which colour they were LOL

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 8 years ago from Australia

      I'm sure we should have been paid danger money working for a bank. All those years of counting coin and notes - disgusting stuff. And I knew there was a reason the key pads on the ATM's are stainless steel. The alcohol cleaner is more effective than on plastic. Now next time you press the plastic keypad in the supermarket you may think twice. Hmmmmm peeeuk!

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 8 years ago

      Think I'll go to the laundromat with my money, throw it all in the washer, and plop my big polka-dot swaying butt on the washing machine when it goes into spin cycle. End result, clean money and reducing the size of my butt! Sounds like a win-win to me :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      In the 1960s and 1970s we were taught in school that US currency was treated to make it germ-free. A government lie? haha. Interesting Hub.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      As a child, I was terrorized by the idea of showing up at school with a speck of dirt I might have missed hiding under a fingernail. The school nurse conducted regular hand inspections, and if she found dirt under your fingernails, not only would she send you to the lavatory with a nail brush to wash it out, but she'd send a note home to your mother AND use you as an example to the rest of your classmates. (Trish, I wonder if you remember this?)

      Well, Christoph, thanks to your superbly written Hub, now I know that horrible nurse was pretty darned smart, maybe even ahead of her time. If only she'd been better educated in psychology!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Countrywomen: Yes, I did mean CW. Thanks for catching that. You are on the ball, as usual.

      Lissie: But let me guess: the locals could tell and it was always a 1 when you thought it was a 10? Seriously, that sounds like some dirty money. Thanks for the comment.

      Jewels: You should have been paid extra. I had a job where I had to count a lot of singles. When I think of all the time I licked my fingers so I could get a better grip on the money....ugh!

      Trish: I actually think that would work (on the money, I mean, not your butt). As for the sitting on the washing machine, I am not going to touch that in spite of the fact that you left it wide open for me. I like you too much to crack the jokes your statement makes available! Thanks for stopping by!

      Patty: I never heard that, but the government wouldn't lie...no way! But seriously, the government does put these little microbes on all money that enter in through our skin and make their way to our brains, eventually coming together and forming a "chip", which thay then use to track our every move, thought, and emotion, and to influence us. Thought you'd like to know.

      Sally: I can remember them checking our hands in line for the lunchroom, but I don't recall them being too strict - unless it was Miss Lemon (no kidding) - an old maid who was a terror in the class room. She was meaner than any nun I ever had. She'd grab you by the hair and shake your head violently if you didn't do your homework. Then you'd see her at church and she'd just be the sweetest old lady. Thanks for stopping by and the comment.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Great - now I need to spend money on yearly brain scans. Another money-filching ploy of Big Medical Care.

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      OMG! Miss Lemon sounds like a horror! I never had to endure hand inspections and I would have been mortified if I'd had Sally's experience. I guess I was just very fortunate in the teachers that I had...

      (Personally...I think that's a great subject for a hub, although not by me since I've never had any bad experiences)

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Patty: And Big Medical Care thanks you for your patronage!

      Spryte: That's NOT a bad idea for a hub. I didn't have many other bad experiences though. Once Sister Charles Mary kicked me so hard in the butt it knocked me out of my desk - and she LIKED me!

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      The question of course is whether or not you enjoyed it too, Christoph :)

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Not at the time. it gave me a story to tell is all.

    • compu-smart profile image

      compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

      lol @ quicksand & "launder the money"!!

      I don't like shaking peoples hands bcos of germs and ill wash my asap after lol! as for money don't get me started on this very serious subject and the sooner we have a cashless society with funds withdrawn from banks or shops (top-ups) then the safer and cleaner our money and lives would be!

      Great hub~;)

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      compu-smart: I think we are headed to a "cashless" society now. I'm not going to worry about germs on money too much - just be really concious of washing my hands, etc. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I love the word *icky* in your title.  I did a Google on the word, and found that there are 3,780,000 returns (guess that's a lot of people who know how to spell it).

      dictionary.com defines the term as repulsive or distasteful, excessively sweet or sentimental, or unsophisticated or old-fashioned, or sticky as in viscid.

      I'm sure you mean the first definition, perhaps the last, but I can't help but wonder about the others in between.

      Needless to say, love your Hubs, and they are always worth revisiting.

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 8 years ago

      Dirty or clean, my love for money will never ever diminish! :)

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 8 years ago

      Chris, you're such a gentleman :)

      By the time I realized what I actually said, it was too late to edit LOL,,but in that video the thing that really caught my attention was the swaying polka-dot butt.

      Sally, no, I don't remember ever getting our hands inspected. What I do remember was standing in line in the nurse's office waiting for the dreaded needle.

      Very interesting hub Chris. I'd say 'food for thought' but somehow that idea makes my stomach turn :)

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Sally: I had no idea the word was that popular. I'd better change some keywords! Thank you so much for stopping back by. You're a welcome visitor anytime!

      Quicksand: Me too. I don't mind washing my hands after I count stacks and stacks of it!

      Trish: Nice to see you again too! Hope all is well with your...laundry. Thanks!

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 8 years ago

      LOL Chris.  I'll be sure to throw in my itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka-dot bikini :)

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 8 years ago from South Africa

      Filthy lucre. What a great hub. Of course keyboards, telephones, credit cards, car keys are all sources of bacteria. That ATM pad is also a potential bacteria carrier. Of course too much sanitization is also not a good thing. The amount of allergies and poor immuno-supressive systems (in humans) may be the result of living too clean a life. My grandparents believed that some exposure to dirt was good for kids. But they always insisted on washing of hands after going to the loo, before meals and before going to bed at night.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Trish: That should cheer up the rest of your laundry.

      Sixty: That sounds about right to me.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I once caught Scabies from money handling when driving buses. Scabies are like tiny insects/parasites, that tunnel into your skin causing itchy but tiny blisters all over your body from the neck downwards, (mainly on the webbing between your fingers and toes). This quickly passed on to my boyfriend, and the only cure the doctor could offer was a white liquid we had to paint all over each other's naked bodies, including in every crack!!! This liquid had to stay on for 24 hours, then you washed it off and repeated the whole process. It was not pleasant, and the itching drove me crazy. what was really annoying was I washed my hands multiple times a day, but still caught these horrible critters in spite of this. Money truly does carry all sorts of nasties!!

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

      I handle money everyday in my job and I have become quite paranoid about the germs, and your hub didn't help!! LOL

      I use hand sanitizer and have since teaching first grade. Consequently - I rarely every catch a cold, tho' no telling what other germs are lurking around in my body waiting to strike. sniffle.

      I'm going to wash my hands now. =))

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Misty: OOoooo! Scabies! I've heard of scabies but never knew what they actually were (anything that rhymes with rabies can't be good). It sounds truly horrible. Hope I never get them.

      Mariesue: I'm sorry mariesue. I didn't want to make you more paranoid than you already are (though you're not paranoid if they're really out to get you). It sounds like you take good care of yourself. i think you're safe. Thanks for coming by to read though, even if it was uncomfortable for you. Thanks for the comment.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Take a look at this link Christoph, it shows not only an enlarged picture of the scabies mite, but also the effects on the skin of sufferers Yuk.

      http://www.healthy-skin-guide.com/scabies-pictures...

    • Shadesbreath profile image

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Well, as usual, I'm way late to the party. This was a smooth read, as always, and frankly, the thing about the anti-bacterial gels has me wondering again. I heard they were good for a long time, then I recently read that they are not strong enough to actually kill the hardcore bacteria and in fact strengthen them and thus contribute to the evolution of "super" bacterias. But you clearly read more stuff than I did, so, maybe they do work. Dammit, now I'm confused lol.

      I got to tell you, I was laughing my freaking ass off on that video. I know it's immature to appreciate that as much as I did, but I confess to being very immature and, well, that was flat hilarious. How in the heck did you find that thing? That was priceless.

    • Reynolds_Writing profile image

      Reynolds_Writing 8 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Very Amusing Hub

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Misty: Gawd! That looks horrible. It must have been awful. Glad you got rid of them!

      Shades: Thanks for stopping by. I didn't really find anything about the hand sanitizers only helping some bacteria build up a resistance - only that it was OK but soap and warm water was best - but I wasn't really looking for it so it may be true. It makes sense, really. As for the cartoon, wish I could say I searched hi and low, but it came up first on youtube under "washing hands."

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Reynold Writing: Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Glad you found it amusing.

    • Shadesbreath profile image

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Then you slopped into a nugget. I'm showing that to my kids when they get home. They'll laugh their asses off and send it around to their friends.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      LOL my children "loved" the video... I think finally they are going to wash their hands now without me having to remind them. Thanks :)

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Shades: That's great. I know it's typical, just like others have said for generations, but...we didn't have stuff like that when I was a kid.

      Princessa: Good. If I have helped one child wash their hands better, then I have done some good. Thanks for sharing!

    • Worldnet profile image

      Worldnet 8 years ago from St. Louis

      This is a great reminder for everyone to give a serious thought on handwashing, which often is neglected by many because we easily get caught up with a lot of stuff to do in between...

      Nice hub..

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Worldnet: you're right. I, for one, have been taking greater care to wash my hands since I wrote this. Thanks for the comment!

    • evemurphy profile image

      evemurphy 8 years ago from Ottawa

      Now I know why 'Scrooge McDuck' always wore gloves!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      evemurphy: Good point, Eve. 'Scrooge McDuck' wasn't stupid. I mean, he had all that money! Nice to see you again. Thanks for the comment.

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      Hi Christoph - Just clicked the scabies link left by Misty - vile, revolting little nasties! and interestingly enough you don't catch from animals - just other infected people - nice. cheers.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      ajcor: Yea, those scabies are wicked. Don't catch them!

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      Christoph - glad to see you back from computer wilderness land!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Thanks agcor: I'm glad to be back and glad to see you. Of course, I've been watching you - sort of a peeping tom thing - but it's great to be here where I can comment.

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 8 years ago

      very good hub

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      SteveCW MD: Thanks for the comment! Say, why don't you link to it on one of more of your many websites? I'd appreciate it! Thanks!

      Legali: Thanks for your support.

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 8 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Very daunting but true. Be careful what you touch and always wash your hands asap or keep hand sanitizer handy. Excellent Hub. Thumbs-up and a bookmark.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

      There was just something new on the news about this in the last couple of days. Filthy lucre indeed!--

      After reading this again, I realize how good it was and also how great your selection of photos is, even in combination. G Washington, raising his eyebrows above the stripper--the toilet paper currency, the  E-coli bacteria which looks like a fleecy tampon.

      I applaud your wonderful talent for finding images to go with your writing.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      laringo: Thank you for your nice comments. I appreciate you coming by and for the bookmark. I agree with you, I have paid a lot more attention to washing my hands since I wrote this. Thanks!

      Rochelle: Thanks so much for your visit. Coming from you, your praise mean a lot and is very much appreciated! Unexpected too, to get some for my picture selection! Thank you!

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      I am sitting at the computer with one of my Evil Cats on my lap (as usual). Now that I have read your Hub I shall certainly wash my hands before my next trip to the fridge for a little snack! (But I might chuckle as I lather up). But as for putting money in my mouth - I haven't got enough to do that!

      Thanks for an entertaining hub.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      2patricias: We haven't seen each other in a long time. Thanks for stopping by and your comment. I too am washing my hands more (maybe a little too much). I've been trying to teach my cat to wash his paws regularly, expecially after tap dancing in the litter box. It's not working though. Any advice?

      Thanks for writing!

    • Ms._Info profile image

      Ms._Info 8 years ago from New Jersey

      I love the pictures you chose for this hub.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Ms._info: Thanks for stopping by and the comment about the pics. I appreciate it!

    • gwendymom profile image

      gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Hey CR, how are you tonight? Haven't seen ya round too much lately.

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

      CR, feel free to send me your money! I'll be more than happy to wash it for you! I'll even send most of ot back!

      By the way, I had no idea that E.Coli were so cute!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Gwendymom: Yea, I haven't been around too much - too busy. You've been kinda scarce too, haven't you? I hope to spend some more time soon!

      B.T. Ok. I'm sending you a big cardboard box full of my money. Remember to send it back, OK? I trust you. Just remember after you have laundered my money to go easy on the starch!

    • Shaun Lindbergh profile image

      Shaun Lindbergh 8 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      New notes, that's the answer. We have one bank that always seems to issue clean notes from it's ATMs. that's where i go. and I like to wash my coins. OK, the ATM keypad is probably disgusting but so is the guy who sneezed down my back in the supermarket queue! Germs are EVERYWHERE!

      What about a little water fountain built into an ATM to wash your hands afterwards? Hmmm.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Shaun Lindbergh: New money works great for me, thanks (but I'll take the dirty stuff too). Yes, germs are everywhere and they're out to get you, Shaun Lindbergh! Thanks for the comment!

    • white atlantic profile image

      white atlantic 8 years ago from INDIA

      very nice topic.....i never thinked it before

    • mdvaldosta profile image

      Joe 8 years ago from Valdosta, GA

      What? Dirty money... there's no such!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      White Atlantic: Thanks for stopping in and the comment!

      mdvaldosta: It's all pretty. Thanks for the comment!

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

      Still waiting for that box of money, pal. My laundering enterprise is in full swing! At the urging of one of your readers, I have put in a coin washer.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      B.T.: You should receive the box of money shortly. I will be keeping your wife's ass until the money is returned in full (minus reasonable expenses), at which time your wife's ass will be returned to you.

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

      That'll be just fine, Christoph. I'd be willing to bet that it will cost more to feed her, than what's in the box of money. Sounds like you didn't really think this one through.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      BT: Perhaps you, my friend, are the one not "thinking things through." See, I live in Missouri, and here we have what you call Mules. Missouri mules, to be precise, a valuable commodity. Now mules are made by breeding a horse with, just for example, your wife's ass. Her ass demonstrates the same typical qualities I have observed in all assess: obstinance and patience. This makes her perfect for a breeding program, producing Missouri Mules. As I have stated, Missouri mules are quite valuable, which means that I can make a great deal of money with your wife's ass just by selling her services to the farmers around here. You should see the farmer's faces light up when they see your wife's ass. I don't believe they have ever seen an ass so beautiful.

      As you may or may not know, all Mules are sterile, but I'm sure your wife's ass is accustomed to dealings with sterile males. So, you may keep the money in exchange for your wife's ass--all $9.76 of it (maybe you should have waited until you received the package)--effectively selling your wife's ass into white (well, gray with a black stripe) slavery. Good luck!

    • profile image

      paul 8 years ago

      Hi, what a nice hub,I think that picture onsite can talk much than word"picture express thousand word" is it right?Have nice day

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Ick! Great hub with great information. You really did your research on this one! 'Scuse me. Gotta go wash my hands.

    • Proud Mom profile image

      Proud Mom 8 years ago from USA

      EEWWWW! I don't even want to THINK about it! Loved George rolling his eyes!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Paul: Thanks for reading. i think you mean "A picture is worth a thousand words." Thanks for the comment.

      Frieda: Yeah, I've practically become a germaphobe since I wrote this, and something of a compulsive hand washer. Thanks for coming by.

      Proud Mom: By all means, don't think about it. Don't think about the little living nasties living on everything you touch, and don't put that money in your mouth. I worked in an adult entertainment club, and I have seen where that money has been.

    • Proud Mom profile image

      Proud Mom 8 years ago from USA

      I don't want to think about THAT, either. Money laundering is sounding good right about now.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      For real! Use a little bleach!

    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 8 years ago from Florida

      Christoph, the exotic dancer??? I am obsessive about hand washing. I have to be!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      I wasn't the exotic dancer! (Though I would have looked fabulous!) Why do you have to be? Are you a brain surgeon and I forgot?

    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 8 years ago from Florida

      Sure, go and ruin the mental picture with the truth!! Ha ha ha...no, not a brain surgeon. I worked day care for about 2 years, and now I work at a hospital, not as a surgeon. Making money, so I can go to school to be a nurse.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      You can keep the mental picture. Anything I can do to help? Did you ever see Animaniacs? Helloooooooo Nurse!

    • tdarby profile image

      tdarby 7 years ago

      Wash, rinse, repeat. Man Cristoph, you just made me a germaphobe. Thanks a lot.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      tdarby: I know what you mean. It's surprising how much I was my hands since I wrote this. Thanks for the comment.

    • privateye2500 profile image

      privateye2500 7 years ago from Canada, USA, London

      I agree, wash and rinse - repeat. But NOT with hand sanitizers. All the new germ killing dish soaps, etc...are simply making germs into *SUPER GERMS* - we are doing it to ourselves...breeding new bacteria which now kills us...

      New Black Plague coming soon...

      "It goes without saying that bacteria are everywhere in the environment and most of these microbes are harmless to humans. Should germs on currency worry us?"

      It WILL be worrying us if we don't stop messing around with mother nature.

      Surely mother nature knows Best!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      Private eye: Wow. I hadn't come across that info before...that bacteria are building up a resistance to hand sanitizers. We already know that about antibiotics so I'm not surprised, but geez. Scary, ain't it? Thanks for the comment.

    • privateye2500 profile image

      privateye2500 7 years ago from Canada, USA, London

      Wait! I Know! It's a government plot to make money obsolete...to make us use ONLY plastic bank cards and credit cards. Which are, of course, washable!

      Then - when the country's currency goes tits up and the economy crashes - theres nothing to back it up!

      No more Money - nothing left; the USA does not run on the gold standard.

      Yep...Mother Nature knows best; you did your very best June Cleaver--we all know that - the *beaver* surely appreciated you in later life!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      privateye: Is that what it is? I knew it! Stop the presses! I've got a scoop!

    • teendad profile image

      teendad 7 years ago from Richmond, VA

      I hated my job as a cashier because of all that dirty money. I went through bottles of hand sanitizer, and then my hands were always so dry. Great hub.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      teendad: You were right. Thanks for reading.

    • figment profile image

      Karli Duran 7 years ago from Texas

      Very interesting Hub.

    • profile image

      maeve 7 years ago

      Great article, and I love the video, definitely more F's in there than the regular F-diagram!! Reminds me of an article I read a couple of years ago by LSHTM - check out http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/news/2008/dirtyhandsstudy.h...

      I've also featured an article by the Bangladeshi Daily Star which might be of interest to you: http://maevehall.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/filthy-m...

      Will check back for more great posts!

      M

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      Maeve: Thanks for the comment. Interesting posts too!

    • U Neek profile image

      U Neek 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Everything we need to know our moms taught us and this is a great case in point. Thanks for an informative and well written hub.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      U Neek: Thank you for the nice words. Our Moms sure did teach us a lot, but maybe not EVERYTHING. Thanks again.

    • profile image

      Em 7 years ago

      Hello :)

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Lovely video, Christoph! Gad, I've got to find out where that eatery is-that's some soup!!

      Thanks for this, umm, revolting piece of writing!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

      lorlie: Well! I never! Actually, I ALWAYS wash my hands, especially after writing this. Do you believe me? Would you like some soup? Thanks for the comment!

    • wilcowilliams12 profile image

      wilcowilliams12 6 years ago from Franklin Square, NY

      Great read Christoph. It makes sense that money is so dirty. Washing your hands often can help of course but it's impossible to stop every germ there is.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

      wilcowilliams: Right you are. Fortunately, the human body is very good at defending itself. Thanks for the comment.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

      I think about germs on money - but now I'll REALLY THINK.

      And that video was gross, hideous, pukey. Ugh!

      I gotta go read something pretty now! :-}

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

      frogyfish: Ha! Guess I was feeling "pukey" that day. I've got lot's of "pretty" stuff too...I'm not always hideous and gross. Just sometimes. Thanks for the comment!

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 6 years ago from Australia

      Gross. I had to watch that damn video didn't I!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

      Jewels: Heh, heh, heh. Been so long since I watched it, I can't even remember what's on it. How are you, Jewels?

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 6 years ago from Australia

      Shuffling along Master Reilly. About to do some 'omming' over the next seven weeks with my teacher. Hope you're kicking goals in life.

      PS: I did that follow-up hub to the Hartman Grid. Check it out when you have time.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

      Hey Jewels, I am indeed "kicking goals," and they're kicking back. I'll make it a point to read the Hartman Grid. I haven't had time to do much of anything lately except work. Not complaining. I got just what I wanted and I love it, but a little less of it would be nice.

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 6 years ago from Australia

      Very pleased you've had a win. Will catch up on skype in the New Year for an update.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

      Sounds groovy!

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Great hub. I won't say I enjoyed it, but great hub all the same.

      I love it when I wash my hands in a public lavatory, and feel all clean and smug, but then find that some other person has just come in done his business, (Whatever that might be) and gone out, not having washed his hands, and I have to open the door that last had his hands on the handle.

      Yeeuch!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

      Yeah, it's pretty gross, but it's best to be aware. I've hardly stopped washing my hands since I wrote it.

    • profile image

      mjh 6 years ago

      wow....................................

    • profile image

      butt 4 years ago

      this is really interesting!

    • Romanian profile image

      Nicu 2 years ago from Oradea, Romania

      You don't know where money has been. Maybe it was in possesion of a dirty beggar. You never know what disease he might got.

    • Elliott Shifman L profile image

      Elliott Shifman L 2 years ago

      Very interesting topic to read about. #elliottshifmanl

    • profile image

      idk 22 months ago

      opkay

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