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How dirty is your phone?

Your phone is dirtier than several objects that we deem 'dirty'.

Written by Sponsored |Updated : June 30, 2015 5:05 PM IST

Let s admit it, in this day and age, we feel handicapped without our smartphone. It is our friend, philosopher, guide and so much more! We practically live with it 24x7 but how many times do we clean it? No, simply wiping it does not get rid of germs. Our phone is perhaps one of our dirtiest possessions with bacteria all over it. In fact, it is likely to have more germs than on a toilet seat.

Your phone is dirtier than...

...several objects that we deem dirty . In fact, research suggests that on an average, a touch phone has 25,000 germs per square inch. Here are some objects that are cleaner than our phone.

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  • Public toilet
  • The soles of shoes
  • A pet s eating bowl
  • Kitchen counters
  • Door knobs
  • A bundle of notes

What s more, studies show that 92% phones have bacteria on them with 16% containing E.coli, bacteria found in faeces. All these germs are likely to lead to infections. According to Dr Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology, Germs like E.coli as well as influenza and MRSA are usually found on cell phones, they cause rashes and skin infections. E.coli can also cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting while influenza virus can cause flu and attack your respiratory system. Perspiring while talking on the phone closes skin pores which can lead to acne problems and blackheads. Since the screen is usually warm, bacteria thrives and transfers not just to our fingers, but also the face including the eyes, nose, ears and lips. All these double our chances of getting infected. So the next time you have a bout of flu, don t just blame the weather, it could be due to your phone too. Says Jeffery Cain, President of the American Academy of Family Physicians, People are just as likely to get sick from their phones as from handles of the bathroom.

How your phone gets dirty

We usually use our phones not just to talk but also to take pictures, surf the net, chat, etc. All these involve touching the screen. Every time we do so, we transfer more germs on to it. Here are a few factors that make our phone dirty.

Using it after meals: Do you wash your hands after meals? If you don t, you not only transfer bacteria but also other things such as oil, food particles on the screen and other parts.

Using it in/after using restrooms: Using your phone after going to the restroom or worse, in the restroom is an open invitation to millions of germs. Especially if you use a public toilet, you are likely to pass on germs from other people who ve touched that surface before you.

Using it in public transport: If you often commute via public transport, you perhaps have more germs on your phone. This is because you touch surfaces such as the pole, seat handles, etc. which a thousand others have touched, most likely without washing their hands. These then pass on to your screen when you touch it.

Your sweat: When you talk on your phone for a long time, you tend to sweat and deposit the germs on your phone s screen.

While playing with pets: Love playing with your pets? I m sure you wash your hands after touching them before you sit down for a meal but do you wash them before you touch your phone too? Probably not. This means you now have germs from an animal or bird too on your phone.

When other people use it: Your phone may be your prized possession but it is quite rare that no else except you touches it. You may often pass it on to others to take pictures, make a call, show something, etc. They too pass on germs from their hands on your phone s screen. According to a research, 82% of hands have bacteria on them.

When you keep it on other surfaces: You are likely to keep your phone on surfaces such as the table, desk, bag, pocket, drawer, etc. These often have germs, dust particles, etc. which get transferred on your phone.

Can you really keep your phone clean?

Your phone harbours thousands of germs but is it really possible to clean it? Here a few methods but they too have their shortcomings.

Tissue paper: Wiping your phone with a tissue, even a wet one may clean it on the surface but not entirely get rid of all the germs.

Alcohol wipes: These wipes may help keep germs away but are not safe for your phone as using them too much can damage the coating on the screen.

UV light cleaner: These can disinfect your phone s screen to quite an extent but are not economically viable for most people and aren t that easily available too.

Cleaning kit: These specially-designed kits have different tools to clean various parts of your phone but considering the amount of germs your phone harbours, it may be difficult to clean it all the time.

Soap & water: Several people resort to cleaning phones with soapy liquids or disinfectants. These may keep it clean temporarily, but can also damage your phone in the process.

Phone covers: While you may protect your phone from external damage and water, phone covers do not act as barriers from germs. This is because when you use your phone, the screen cover is off. You may be able to lessen the number of germs using flip covers that do not have to be lifted while making a call.

Screen guard: These essentially protect your phone s screen from scratches, sweat and water seeping in to an extent but the dirt and dust will still settle on it if not on your screen directly.

Perhaps the best way to get rid of germs from your phone is with water. You can practically do it anywhere and quite frequently. It is also economical and does not take much time. But unless your phone is waterproof, it is not feasible to do so. Probably, your best bet is to use a phone that can be washed with water. Sony has launched a new wash-friendly phone called Sony Xperia M4 Aqua that can be washed under a tap of running water to keep it clean and germ-free. Read more about this phone here.

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