Your beloved iPhone is home to many things: your pictures, your important data, and all kinds of bacteria.
In fact, your iPhone likely carries around 10 times the amount of bacteria found on most toilet seats, according to University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba. If that wasn’t bad enough, then consider this fact: researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found that one out of every six smartphones harbored fecal matter.
Mostly, this is caused by people failing to wash their hands properly after using the restroom, the researchers found — which is even more worrying if you think about how many people use their smartphones while doing so. While 95 percent of the people interviewed in that 2011 study said that they washed their hands with soap when possible, 82 percent of those hands — and 92 percent of the phones that those hands touched — had bacteria on them. The other primary factor is that these devices are not commonly disinfected — really, ask yourself when the last time you actually cleaned your iPhone. For some of us, the answer might be never. Contrast that with the toilet seat: an object that is, in most cases, cleaned and sanitized rather frequently.
If there’s any good news attached to these statistics, it’s that devices that aren’t likely to be shared — like your own smartphone — only carry a single set of germs, and won’t get you sick. The problems arise when these smartphones or other devices are shared between people, Gerba found.
Your smartphone isn’t the only thing germier than the porcelain throne in your house — in fact, your kitchen sink and sponge, your shoes and even your reusable shopping bags all commonly more bacteria-laden than toilet seats, USA Today reported. Electronic devices that are commonly shared are especially prone to being germ-ridden — including the family iPad and the TV remote.
Thankfully, this common problem is also easily fixed: always wash your hands thoroughly, and implore other people in your household to wash theirs. To sanitize your germ-ridden devices, just use a disinfectant wipe to clean your phone’s surface every once in awhile.