The most common type of OCD worldwide is the fear of contamination, conditioned by the fear of catching some sort of illness or disease which usually leads to constant bothering about toxic elements and objects.

That's why the easiest way to recognize someone having this type of OCD is by noticing him/her perform numerous cleaning and washing rituals to an extreme. This is the most distinctive symptom of contamination OCD. OCDers keep their homes extremely clean, and they often hire professionals to do what they can’t handle alone, like washing the carpets and soft furniture, or scrubbing clean the oven.

People with contamination OCD constantly clean and wash items in their homes, trying to decontaminate the environment. They are divided in two groups:
- People who experience discomfort by interfering with any type of contamination and toxic substances
- People who fear being diseased by toxins and transferring these harmful substances and illness to others.

People falling in the first group have the milder form of OCD, and usually involve themselves in washing sessions just to prevent the discomfort of feeling toxic and dirty.

Those in the second group bother about catching or spreading a disease caused by contamination. Their cleaning rituals are intended to prevent themselves and others from the danger of coming down with an illness.



The environment these days is filled with pollution and toxic chemicals, which somehow turned out a fact that we’ve reconciled with. OCD sufferers can’t do that. They constantly live in doubt and devour themselves.

Perceived contaminants:
- Pesticides
- Lead
- Radiation
- Toxic waste
- Asbestos


Many products in our homes contain carcinogens or toxins. А human with OCD and fear of cancer would read every item’s description looking for something like ‘this product might cause cancer as it is known to cause it in mice’. For someone with a fear of cancer, reading this could be overpowering.

Perceived contaminants:
- Bleach
- Hair dye
- Cleaning products
- Bug sprays
- Detergents


Some OCDers are worried about getting AIDS, HIV or any other type of disease from body secretions like blood or semen. If they notice a red spot somewhere, they would conclude that it is a blood stain which could be infected with the AIDS virus, and they will not calm down until the spot, respectively the danger, is removed.

Perceived contaminants:
- Blood
- Semen
- Saliva
- Faeces
- Sweat

For more information on OCD and how to fight it, visit the Health Direct website.

Author's Bio: 

Fitness, healthy living, writing, traveling and organizing are some of my strong passions.
Currently lives in Melbourne with husband and little daughter Nikki.