A survey released Tuesday ranks the dirtiest everyday surfaces in the United States that can spread the most cold and flu viruses.

The survey from Kimberly-Clark Professional, ranked gas pumps, mailbox handles and escalator rails in the top 3 and underscored the importance of hand and surface hygiene given that most cold and flu viruses are spread because people touch surfaces in their immediate area and then touch their faces, other objects and other people.

"People do not realize the amount of contamination they are exposed to going to work each day and doing everyday things like filling their gas tank or riding on an escalator," said Dr. Charles Gerba, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Arizona.

Hygienists tested for Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) in objects, which is present in all animal, vegetable, bacteria, yeast and mold cells. Detection of ATP indicates the presence of contamination by any of these sources. They recommended washing and drying your hands frequently throughout the day, to prevent risk of getting sick or spreading illness around the office.

See the top 7 Dirtiest Everyday Surfaces, according to the Kimberly-Clark survey:

1. Gas pump handles

2. Handles on Public Mailboxes

3. Escalator Rails

4. ATM buttons

5. Parking Meters/ Kiosks

6.Crosswalk buttons

7.Buttons on vending machines

The study is part of Kimberly Clarks' Healthy Workplace Project designed to help companies have a healthier and more productive office environment.

According to the survey, each year companies lose $1,685 per employee who comes to work while sick.