Beware! Your Smartphone Is Dirtier than a Toilet Seat |

Beware! Your Smartphone Is Dirtier than a Toilet Seat

A survey in the United States on hygiene practices found that 88% of all adults use their devices while in the bathroom


Remember the time dengue had assumed serious epidemic proportions some years ago? That’s when the use of hand cleansers gained momentum, though in recent times very few use it outside of hospitals and fewer still carry a bottle in our bags. Turns out now, that even our smartphones could be the hot seat for infectious diseases.

Yes, you read that right. A recent survey conducted in the US revealed that more than 88% of all smartphone users carried their phones into the water closets (WC) and bathrooms. It identified baby boomers, parents and men as amongst the dirtiest when it comes to using their phones and keeping them clean.

This story was further accentuated by a Twitter poll that carried earlier this week where close to 60% of respondents admitted that they never once cleaned their smartphones. Not surprising, given that most of us phone users are mortally scared of using water to clean the devices, in spite of the fact that most of these are water-resistant now.

Now consider the fact that the smartphone is the one device that travels everywhere that its owner does – the bathroom, kitchen, the bedroom, the office, in public transport etc. And it is constantly used while cooking, in the shower, while eating or even after feeding your pet who gives you an affectionate lick!

Doctors suggest that the phones are now as bad or even worse than toilet seats when it comes to being a veritable playground for germs and viruses with a report published on suggesting that germs found on a mobile device include E. coli, Influenza, MRSA (a drug resistant bacterium found in the lung tracts) etc. This video is worth a watch.

Another research conducted by two years ago showed the results of a smartphone swab test in the UK which suggested that a toilet seat and flush had lower amounts of bacteria than the Samsung Galaxy and iPhone used in the tests! “The smartphone screens tested were over ten times more infected than a toilet seat and flush. Bad news considering that we press our phone screens against our faces!”

Now think of this: These tests were carried out in the US and UK where levels of hygiene are far more ingrained than it is in India. Since toilet hygiene in our country is virtually non-existent, what could it be doing to our smartphones? Ugh!

The question is how does one clean the phone? Apple has devoted an entire page to give us instructions and so have others. However, since we thought it best to provide a quick cheat sheet to our fast-paced generation though it is up to them to decide whether they want to carry a veritable toilet seat in their pockets or not.

Here is how you can set about cleaning your smartphones:

  • Use microfiber cloth to reduce the risk of scratching the screen. A damp microfiber cloth is way better than a hand-kerchief or paper napkins. The bacteria may not die, but would get wiped off the phone’s surface
  • There are several phone cleaner kits available online and some are listed right here. These can be effective to de-bug your phone and its use at least once a day is recommended
  • We learnt at school that bacteria find it easier to thrive in nooks and crannies. So use of damp cotton swabs or soaked in hand cleansing fluid could be used to swipe away the memory card slots or headphone jacks
  • And each time you fall ill, remember that your smartphone never left your bedside and could as be retaining some bacteria. So, anti-bacterial wipes could be used after recovery though this process only needs to be done occasionally.
  • By the way, it would be better to avoid regular cleaning agents such as window cleaners, paper towels, use of sprays containing alcohol or any other household cleaning products, largely because while the bacteria may die, so may the phones as these contain a high level of chemicals.

Remember that the smartphone is the friend that stays with you the most and giving them a quick rub-down would be in your interests as much as those of your friends who may have the propinquity to borrow the device to watch a video or check out some pictures.

TAGS: Smartphone, Apple, Pixel, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Mashable, Vitalvio, Hygiene