A scary new study shows these are the two germiest parts of a plane

As we all know, an airplane is basically just a steel tube filled with bacteria hurtling through the sky. Of course, you bring wipes and don't touch anything in the bathroom. However, the germiest places on a plane are not where you might think. Just like your bathroom is far from the dirtiest place in your home, it's not the dirtiest place on an airplane. One of the two dirtiest places on airplanes is seatback pockets, according to a new study from CBC Markets.

Flight attendants at Canada's three largest airlines reportedly told Marketplace that passengers use the pockets as containers for everything from used tampons, sandwiches, loose condoms and dirty diapers. While it's enough to make you gag (especially if you put your sandwich over the gash of another passenger's dirty diaper), researchers found that the most bacteria were found on the headrests.

This makes sense, since these two things are likely to be the least cleaned - especially if flights are late and passengers are being lost quickly. Basically, while the plane may look clean when you board, it's not. “We don’t have wipes on board, we don’t have sprays,” former WestJet employee Stéphane Poirier told Marketplace. "A lot of [detergents] are hazardous...so it's either water from the plane or napkins."

When it comes to flying, the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” applies AF. While that seat looks nice and fresh, looks can be deceiving. "[Cleaning] wasn't a big priority. When it was a priority, it wasn't necessarily for the sake of cleaning, but for aesthetic purposes," former Porter Airlines employee Connor Remus Tell Marketplace. Yes, that's how I look organized too, with everything thrown into the closet - it's a perfect illusion.

So what exactly is lurking around your unclean airplane seat? Keith Warriner, a microbiologist at the University of Guelph who analyzed samples collected from various flights, said he is concerned about the types of bacteria found on these surfaces. E. coli, mold, and yeast are found on the items you use to cover yourself, where you rest, and on surfaces you touch in the air in levels high enough to cause infection in humans.

Aside from boarding a plane surrounded by a plastic bubble, what else can you do to ensure safety while flying? Microban International, an antimicrobial, odor control and surface modification company, recommends on its blog that you use antibacterial hand sanitizer after touching seatback pockets or anything in them. You can also clean the headrests and tray tables with alcohol wipes before getting comfortable in your seats.

"With 2,155 microorganisms per square inch, table trays are much dirtier than a typical airplane toilet seat, making the surface on which food is consumed extremely unsanitary," notes Microban International. "To ensure your tray tables are fresh, please Use disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces before and after use. We also recommend placing something, such as clean paper towels, to prevent food from coming into contact with the trays.”

In market research, tray tables are the fourth most germ-laden part of an airplane, behind only bathroom door handles. In addition, airline blankets were found to contain high levels of yeast and mold, which researchers found troubling because the blankets were packaged airtight.

While all of this may be enough to keep you on the ground until you can erase this knowledge from your memory, another study published in the journal Microbial Ecology found that airplanes are indeed very dirty, but no more dirty than other public places Dirtier. This is truly a case of #TheMoreYouKnow. If you wipe down your seat before sitting down, keep your hands clean, and avoid touching your face, you'll be fine.