The Toilet isn’t the Dirtiest Place on an Airplane


Where is the dirtiest place on an Airplane?

We all like to travel just as much as we would all like to avoid those nasty germs that make us sick or give us the flu. Unfortunately with so many people sick nowadays, travelling isn’t the joy it should be to some of us who have to travel on a regular basis. I am going to talk about some of the dirtiest places on the airplane you are going to want to avoid. I also have two videos at the bottom worth watching talking about the places to avoid on airplanes. Some of the places you want to avoid may actually surprise you, more than others.

Various tests were done and the lab results indicate that the tray table was indeed the dirtiest place out of all the locations. Table trays were tested and found to have an average of 2,155 Colony Forming Units (CFU’s) per square inch.

Top 5 Dirtiest places on an Airplane

  • Table Tray
  • Chair Arm Rests (porous)
  • Chair Pockets
  • Toilet Handles
  • Toilet’s in General

Eating Tray / Table

Since the table tray is probably the most used piece of furniture on a plane when travelling, as well as most people are likely to eat off of the table tray, possible drop food on the tray and then eat it and could provide bacteria directly to a person’s mouth, you should take care to either avoid using it or make sure you clean it or drown it in hand sanitizer before using it. People also place dirty laptops, toys, you name it on the trays, so they are literally full of bacteria.

Airplane Table Tray

Chair Arm Rests

Chair armrests are typically made of rubber and are very porous. Because the pours are typically quite deep, they aren’t necessarily the worst but you should wipe them down anyway as you will be resting on them for the entire journey. A quick wipe hand sanitizer should do the trick.

Airplane Armtest

Chair Pockets

Chair pockets carry a high count of bacteria including the magazines that reside in them, people drop things, put used tissues in there, sometimes food. A lot of people will read the magazines transferring everything on their hands to the magazines which you then touch. I would avoid reading or touch any of the content in the chair pockets. The Auburn University researchers found MRSA could survive in the seat pocket material for up to 168 hours. At least, in theory, that’s plenty of time for multiple passengers to contract the difficult-to-treat infection.

Airplane Chair Pocket

Toilet Handles / Push Buttons

Toilet handles or Push Buttons which are not porous are touched by so many people and hands, even though has a lower count of bacteria, the transfer is more likely due to the non-porous surface. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after visiting an airplane washroom with warm water and soap. 

Airplane Bathrooms

If you can avoid the bathroom altogether, we would recommend you do so. There are so many surfaces which people come into contact with and even though the bathroom is cleaned more often than anything else on the plane but is still a breeding ground for bacteria and E-coli. 

Airplane Washroom

Video talking about the dirtiest place on an airplane

Airplanes are filled with bacteria and microbes, and they can live on the plane for days! Where are the dirtiest places on the plane? Tara takes a look at some of the grosses places that bacteria can be found.

CTV News Video talking about How to avoid germs on an airplane

CTV News Video on how to avoid germs on an airplane


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About the Author Stephanie Hill

Stephanie Hill is the Chief Editor of Healthy Fixation and blogs regularly on various blogs and health and fitness topics. Stephanie provides personal advice on the latest health news and recommendations on health related issues and products.

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