Nowadays, our mobile phones come everywhere with us — the table, the bathroom, the doctor’s office, the gym, the public transport, the park bench.
We are all aware that they are dirty, but do we know exactly how much? A curious fact is that each square inch of your handset contains roughly 25,000 germs. That’s something to think about the next time you touch the screen.
As we rarely disinfect our phone, bacteria accumulate, and the more bacteria remain on the surface of the device, the more bacteria we touch every minute.
In fact, your own hand is the biggest culprit. On average, people check their phones about 47 times per day, which affords plenty of opportunities for microorganisms to move from your fingers to your phone. And the constant heat emitted by the device creates the ideal breeding ground for new bacteria.
Your mobile phone is dirtier than a toilet seat
Emily Martin, a professor of epidemiology at the Michigan University, shares the results of a recent study that finds 17,000 different types of bacteria on the phones of high school students. Scientists at the University of Arizona have revealed even more disturbing findings — mobile phones carry 10 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat.
The good news is that these bacteria usually have no harmful effects on our health. However, remember that we don’t live in a sterile environment and the surface we touch may be covered with something contagious. Studies have found serious pathogens on cell phones, including Streptococcus and E. coli. Just having these microbes on your phone won’t automatically make you sick, but you still don’t want to let them enter your system. In other words, it’s not a good idea to eat or rub eyes while we’re on the phone
How to avoid the germs
Fortunately, there are easy ways to avoid some germs. First of all, stop using your phone in the bathroom. When toilets flush, the germs that spread are very likely to end up on your phone. Thus, taking a cell phone into the bathroom is like leaving it without washing your hands.
Wiping your phone with a soft microfibre cloth will remove many of the germs. For a deeper clean, however, use a combination of 60% water and 40% antiseptic. Unless you’re sick, doing this 3-4 times each month is enough to maintain proper hygiene.
Oh, and don’t forget to wash your hands several times a day.