The New York City subway system isn’t our idea of clean, but we figured some places are way more disgusting than others, as far as germs are concerned.
Namely, we assumed the poles were the worst culprits.
Not so, according to Susan Perkins, a microbiologist who told WNYC’s Only Human podcast that the biggest subway breeding ground for bad microbes is actually the wooden bench where you park your keister while waiting for the train to arrive.
The poles are actually fairly clean, since not much bad stuff can live on stainless steel. The benches, on the other hand, are made of porous wood, making it easy for microbes to seep in and hang out.
So go ahead and grab the pole, it’s way better than ending up on the subway floor.