Explore your world
© Saulo Mohana / Unsplash
© Saulo Mohana / Unsplash

This Is How Many Germs Are Living on Your Phone, According to Science

Picture of India Irving
Social Content Producer
Updated: 26 February 2018

We’ve got some bad news: science says your phone is actually 10 times dirtier than a toilet seat. 

We realise this sounds absolutely crazy, but think about it for a second. When was the last time you deep-cleaned your bathroom? Probably more recently than the last time you did the same to your trusty cell.

We don’t tend to associate phones with filth, the way we would a toilet, and this is one of the reasons our phones get so covered in germs. On average, Americans check their phones 47 times per day. That is almost twice every hour! And the more the tap, the more germs you spread.

So, what does this mean for travel lovers?

Well, taking your phone all around the world may cause a few problems. According to the University of Arizona’s Agriculture and Life Sciences department, it’s not as much our own germs that are the problem as those of others. If you don’t share your phone, you are mostly interacting with your own bacteria, but as soon as someone else touches it, that’s an entirely new set of germs to add to the equation. So be careful when swapping digits with a new backpacking buddy or letting someone use your phone for a group selfie!

And what about the germs we pick up travelling from place to place? According to Emily Martin, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, ‘because people are always carrying their cell phones even in situations where they would normally wash their hands before doing anything, cell phones do tend to get pretty gross.’ To avoid getting sick, make sure you wipe down your phone after any new adventure!

Plus, don’t forget about hygiene when it comes to aeroplanes! Slipping your phone into the seatback pocket or laying it on the tray table may spell trouble – a study in 2015 found that there were 2,155 colony forming units of bacteria on every square inch of an aeroplane tray table! Gross! And don’t even get us started on those bathrooms.

So how can we deal with this nasty problem? Invest in a decent screen cleaner to stop those germs from multiplying!