10/05/2017 17:02 EDT | Updated 06/24/2019 13:29 EDT

Your Kid Is Bringing Home More Than Uneaten Food In His Lunch Box

Handle with care.

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It turns out there's something grosser than having to discard your kid's mushy banana from their lunch box when they get home from school, and it has to do with all the other crap they pick up in that container throughout the day.

A 2016 study by cleaning cloth company e-cloth found that almost three-quarters of fabric lunch boxes contained mould, reported, and 20 per cent contained harmful bacteria like staphylococcus and enterococci.

Each of these could cause serious health issues, ranging from eczema to food poisoning, depending on how long they were permitted to grow inside the container.

While low levels of these particular organisms have been found in similar studies and dismissed as being inconsequential, fecal matter on lunch boxes is a different matter, as demonstrated in a 2012 study from North Carolina State University.

Beyond fecal matter being gross, it can also lead to health problems like pink eye, infections of open wounds and gastrointestinal problems.

Researchers attributed this to kids who weren't washing their hands properly after going to the bathroom, and other than just the gross thought of having poop on you, it can also lead to health problems like pink eye, infections of open wounds and gastrointestinal problems.

It's a similar situation to the one that's been discovered with cellphones. That's right, it's not just kids who aren't rinsing themselves properly after pooping — one in six phones have been found to have fecal matter on them, according to Time magazine.

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But at least as far as the lunch box situation goes (and, for that matter, the phone one too), there's a solution, which is to clean the heck out of it.

Blog Clean My Space recommends using a cloth and warm, soapy water, then leaving it upside down to air dry. If there's a stain (or something a little more crusted on), make a paste with baking soda and water to remove it, put it on the stain, then wipe it off.

And we're just going to go ahead and recommend wiping off the backpack too. Because ... ew.

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