The neighbourhood playground, above, is a cesspool of germs. Your PC or laptop keyboard, right, is 20 000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. Pictures: Pixabay

If you're a germophobe, best be warned to stop reading now... By Marchelle Abrahams

Germs, there's no getting away from them. And here's a shocking figure for germaphobes: a team of researchers from the University of Georgia made a direct estimate of the total number of bacteria on Earth. They estimated the number to be five million trillion trillion.

But before you go reaching for the hand sanitiser, Dettol recently released stats detailing the top germ hotspots - and it doesn't bode well for the clean freaks among us.

The household brand compared various surfaces and rated them against a germ-O-meter.

Here's what they found:

Chopping board

Germ-O-meter: 4.34 million

Your kitchen chopping board may look harmless enough, but it can house up to 4.34 million germs. A handy solution is to deep clean your wooden or plastic cutting board by scrubbing it with a paste made from 1 tablespoon baking soda, salt and water.

Computer keyboard

Germ-O-meter: 2.30 million

Research found that your PC or laptop keyboard is 20000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. That's vile! The findings were discovered by CBT Nuggets where the team swabbed typical items found in an office to see how much bacteria they harboured.

Soccer ball

Germ-O-meter: 1.54 million

Did you know after playing outdoors, your child's soccer ball can bring nearly 1.54 million germs into the home?

Couch

Germ-O-meter: 0.32 million

Your couch is the one piece of furniture that comes into daily contact with your buff, not forgetting dog hairs and grubby little fingers. One way to keep most germs at bay is to vacuum it daily and then scrub down with a solution of mild soap and white vinegar.

Dettol's Germ-O-Meter

School bag

Germ-O-meter: 0.12 million

School bags are a breeding ground for bacteria, and experts say these very germs can cause colds and flu. A good rule of thumb is wash it at least once a week and encourage your children to wash their hands before and after eating their school snacks.

Playground

Germ-O-meter: 0.09 million

There's more than just sand lurking in the playground sandbox. A new Spanish study found that the bacterium Clostridium difficile, or “C. diff.” was found in sandpits. The bacteria causes an intestinal infection, resulting in severe diarrhoea.

TV remote

Germ-O-meter: 0.05 million

You wouldn't be fighting over the TV remote if you knew how many germs found a cosy place between those buttons. Even hotels are trying too hard to combat them by protecting them with a germ-resistant coating.

Cellphone

Germ-O-meter: 0.01 million

You hold it against your ear and carry it around in your hands. It's only obvious that your phone is a germ trap. But the problem, according to microbiologists, isn't that they are constantly in use - it's because people share them, and inadvertently share germs.