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Most of us have them -- the personal ritual to deal with the "ick" of a public bathroom: wiping the seat with toilet paper, using a paper seat cover or even rolling up several pieces of toilet paper to create a thicker barrier between the skin and ... the unknown.

But the toilet seat is actually the cleanest part of the bathroom, one expert says.

Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona who has studied restrooms and other germ-infested environments for more than 20 years, says that because of the care people take when they're about to sit, other parts of the bathroom are much more prone to delivering bacterial infections.

"One of the cleanest things in the bathrooms we find are the toilet seats," Gerba said. "I'd put my fanny on it any time -- unless it's wet; then you'd want to wipe it first." Avoiding bathroom 'hot spots'

The Internet has come through for people who just want a clean place to go. New tools like MizPee (nationwide) and Diaroogle (New York only) will point you to the nearest public restroom and display extensive comments about those facilities from users, even delivering the information to your mobile phone. (Warning: CNN makes no promises about the cleanliness of the language in these bathroom locators.) Read full article »

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