How Dirty is Your Phone?

How Dirty is My Phone?

"I'm the only person that touches my phone, so why would I need to clean it? There's nothing on it." No offense...but keep dreaming. What about that hanging handle on the subway you held onto this morning? Or that man whose hand you shook after yesterday's sales meeting? We don't know where his hands have been - and after you touched it, you grabbed your phone to check the time or answer a text. Now, whatever bacteria you picked up from him has quickly and easily found its way to your phone.

So...just how dirty IS your phone? Short answer: The sky is the limit. If you're reading this though, you probably want the long answer. I thought of a few very common public surfaces that are touched all day long and put them together in this really disgusting blog. Keep in mind - this doesn't even scratch the surface of everything we touch throughout the day. 

1. ATM. Turns out those ATM's are dispensing more than cash, but are we really surprised? They see a lot of traffic throughout the day. In a piece done by the Chicago Tribune on bacteria found on dollar bills, they highlighted a study in which it was found that "bacteria that cause food-borne illness - including salmonella and a pathogenic strain of E.coli - have been shown to survive on pennies, nickels, and dimes and can hide out on ATM machines." One study done in New York even shows traces of food. They found that residents in Harlem ate more chicken, whereas those in Flushing and Chinatown ate more fish and mollusks! The crazy part? Money and coins are so much worse (like the fact that traces of cocaine can be found on 80% of all dollar bills!) 

2. Escalator handrails. I can't be the only one that refuses to touch these - and for good reason apparently. When a panel of experts was asked to speak on the germiest hot spots at shopping malls, this one easily made the list. In their testing, they found food, E.coli, urine, mucus, feces, and blood on the escalator handrails.

3. Subways. Subways are pretty gross. Anyone who has ever taken the subway as means of transportation should not be surprised to know that researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College conducted a study in which they collected DNA samples from 466 different stations over an 18-month period and found 15,152 lifeforms - including the bacteria that causes the bubonic plague. The most common types of bacteria found, however, were bacteria that cause food poisoning and bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.

4. Gym. The ugly truth is this: not everyone wipes down their gym equipment after use. Combine this heinous crime with a warm and sweaty atmosphere and you've got the perfect breeding grounds for all sorts of scary bacteria.  Check out this infographic put together by that shows exactly what you're touching and transferring to your phone each time you work out. 

Disgusting, right? Luckily for you, I've already done all the research on how exactly to AVOID germs at the gym. Click here for peace of mind to go along with those abs.

5. Keyboards. The team over at CBD Nuggets were curious about the germs living in their office space, so they started swabbing. What they found was that keyboards were the second dirtiest item in their office, with a whopping 20,598 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. The good news is that out of everything on this list, this problem has the easiest solution. Keeping a container of disinfectant wipes at your desk and wiping everything (not just the keyboard!) down every couple days will eliminate any harmful bacteria from multiplying and posing a risk to your health.

6. Airport security bins. Alright, travelers, this one is for YOU! Airports are constantly busy, seeing people from all over the world, day in and day out. Unfortunately, it isn't always feasible to reschedule a flight if you happen to get sick, which just means you're packing those germs with you. In a study done by the UK's University of Nottingham and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, it was found that 10% of all the surfaces they swabbed at the airport showed evidence of viruses - including rhinovirus and influenza. The big culprits include shop payment terminals, staircase rails, passport checking counters, and children's play areas. The biggest culprit? The bins you put your things in while going through security. I don't know about you, but to me, it doesn't ever look like those things have ever been cleaned. Avoiding these isn't possible, so keep reading to find out how to protect yourself.

These are all common items and places that we frequent often, so it's easy to understand how germs and bacteria find their way to our cell phones, seeing as they're in our hands all day. All this being said, it's important to note that there IS such a thing as healthy exposure to germs. However, we should still be taking the necessary precautions to prevent harmful bacteria from getting us or those around us sick: carry hand sanitizer, wash your hands when you can, and clean your phone using the PhoneSoap 3.0 phone cleaner. This device uses UVC light technology to sanitize your phone, killing 99.9999% of all bacteria - including the common cold and flu viruses!

Wiping your phone down with an alcohol wipe isn't as effective as most people think, plus it can potentially permanently damage your phone in the process. To read more about that - check out my article here.

Now, you have a small idea of how dirty your phone really is. With flu season coming up, it's more important than ever to keep that device you carry everywhere as clean as you can!