Women’s work areas have three to four times more germs than men’s, according to a study at the University of Arizona.

Contributing factors were found to be women’s habits, such as keeping food in their drawers and wearing make-up and lotions, the researchers said.

Microbiologist Dr Charles Gerba, whose study was funded by disinfectant maker Clorox, looked at bacteria levels and the presence of viruses in the workplace. Eight samples were taken from various sites in 100 offices at the university and throughout various US cities.

Gerba compared work desks to “bacteria cafeterias”, finding that 75 percent of workers occasionally clean their desks before eating and that 57 percent of workers snack at their desks at least once a day

The research also revealed that the average office desktop has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat and that the mouldiest part of the work area was the bottom of the desk drawer, where most people store snacks.

The bacteria levels in teachers’ work areas ranked in the top spot, while TV producers, consultants and lawyers were the least germ-ridden. Men didn’t come out unscathed in the research either as their wallets were also found to provide a great breeding ground for bugs.