A 2018 Deloitte survey found that Americans check their smartphones around 52 times a day, and they’re tapping and swiping everywhere they go -- at work, at the dinner table, and even in some less hygienic places. A survey conducted by the British company Initial Washroom Hygiene found that 40 percent of people admit they use their smartphones while in the bathroom, but only 20 percent of those who take their phones to the bathroom will clean them afterwards. So it will come as no surprise to learn that when smartphones and toilet seats were swabbed for a 2018 survey, the average mobile phone showed 1,479 instances of live bacterial microbes, compared to only 220 “bright spots” showing bacteria on toilet seats.
How not to answer nature's call:
- In 2011, researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found that one in six mobile phones is contaminated with fecal matter.
- A cell phone case offers little protection. The consumer watchdog Which? reported that in a 2010 study, leather phone cases carried nearly 17 times more bacteria than a typical toilet seat.
- There are naturally plenty of microbes on human skin, and most of those that make their way onto your phone won't make you ill. But it’s a good idea to wash your hands frequently, and to regularly clean your phone with a microfiber cloth or an antibacterial wipe.