As I was searching the internet, educating myself further on hygiene, I came across an interesting video from Mashable (see below) about how dirty your mobile phone is compared to other items found around your home and office.
It is sometimes overlooked just how dirty your phone is. Did you know each square inch of your cell phone contains roughly 25,000 germs? To put things into perspective an iPhone 6 can carry roughly 240,000 germs!
Things cleaner than your phone
If you‘ve seen the video you‘re probably shocked to discover these following items are cleaner than your phone:
- Toilet seats ”” 1201 germs per square inch
- Kitchen counter ”” 417 germs per square inch
- Pet food dish ”” 2110 germs per square inch
- Self-service checkout screen ”” 4500 germs per square inch
- Door knob ”” 8643 germs per square inch
Compared to a mobile device there is a huge difference!
The findings from a sample of 30 phones by Which? magazine carried out a study around this topic using a sample of 30 mobile phones. Their findings suggest that 14.7million of the 63million mobiles in the UK could be potential health hazards.
Germs found on your phone
Other studies have show that 92% of phones play host to a wide range of different bacteria, of which 16% contain E.coli. According to a professor of microbiology, Dr Charles Gerba, germs such as E.coli, influenza virus and MRSA can all be found on mobile phones.
Escherichia coli (E.coli for short) is a bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded animals. It is normally harmless for the host and can be beneficial by producing vitamin Kâ‚‚ and preventing colonisation of the intestine with pathogenic bacteria. However some serotypes of E.coli can cause serious food poisoning leading to diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps.
Influenza is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus and its symptoms can range from mild to severe. Symptoms can include: a high fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing and tiredness. You can catch the influenza virus by inhaling the droplets emitted into the air by people not covering their nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, and also by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus.
MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is a strain of S. aureus that has developed a resistance to antibiotics such as penicillin and so can be hard to treat. MRSA is troublesome in hospitals, prisons and nursing homes and in particular for people with open wounds, invasive devices such as catheters and intravenous drips, and weakened immune systems.
Why does my phone contract so much bacteria?
The simple answer to this is that it‘s warm! Bacteria thrive in warm conditions.
We, as a society, are constantly on our phones. As a result of this the mobile‘s microprocessor is constantly working, and in doing so is generating heat, making the device quite warm, thus creating a stable environment for bacteria to flourish in.
Essentially, our constant usage of our phones turns them into mobile breeding grounds for bacteria!
How does my phone get covered in bacteria?
As previously stated, we are all guilty of being on our phones too much. What this means though is that any germs that get on your hands will get on your phone!
How often have you used your phone whilst you‘re eating or straight after without washing your hands? This is one way in which bacteria can be transferred to your phone. Although fresh food is considered clean and bacteria free, stale food isn‘t. Think about those tiny particles from your dinner last night sitting on your phone screen and the bacteria breeding in them.
We all know that washrooms can harbour a lot of germs and bacteria. That‘s why at Initial we have developed a range of products to make the washroom more hygienic. Using a washroom and forgetting to wash your hands afterwards can lead to harmful germs and bacteria being transferred to your phone. The same can be said for using your phone in a washroom.
Public transport is used by millions of people every day. Because of this, buses, trains and trams harbour an array of germs. Touching items such as hand rails and seats and then using your phone can transfer those bacteria and viruses to your mobile device.
Letting other people use your mobile phone can also help build up the germs and bacteria on your phone as any bacteria found on their hands will quickly transfer to your phone. This will be worse if they haven‘t washed their hands for a while.
Keeping it on surfaces
We all keep our phones on a surface such as a desk or a work top if it is not in our pockets. But how clean is that surface? Just like the previous point, if there‘s any bacteria living on the surface your phone is sitting on then it will also be transferred to your device.
You can also transmit bacteria to your phone through your sweat and also by not washing your hands after playing with your pets.
How can I keep my phone clean?
There are a few ways in which you can keep your phone clean, but they are not a guaranteed fix:
- tissue paper ”” it is a good idea to give your phone a good wipe down with some tissue paper, both wet and dry. This will clean the surface but won’t fully rid your phone from germs.
- alcohol wipes ”” although these are great for eliminating germs from your phone, using them too often can damage your phone screen.
- phone cleaning kit ”” there are hundreds of mobile phone cleaning kits available on the market that are designed to get rid of the germs and bacteria on your phone.
Although there is a range of ways in which you can clean your phone, phone cleanliness can be solved with good and proper hand hygiene.
Remembering to clean your hands after you have eaten, used a washroom, prepared food or played with your pets can help keep down the amount of germs on your mobile.
Using simple hand hygiene products such as soap and water or a good quality hand sanitizer before and after you‘ve used your mobile can ensure you prevent germs transferring between your hands and your phone.
Practising good hand and phone hygiene will reduce the amount of germs on both your hands and phone and consequently reduce your risk of developing an illness such as the flu.