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How Germy Is My Phone?
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How Germy Is My Phone?

September 14, 2018 | By Kelli Sprunt
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How Germy Is My Phone?

"I'm the only person who touches my phone, so why would I need to clean it?" No offense, but keep dreaming. What about that handle you grasped on the subway this morning? Or that man whose hand you shook after yesterday's sales meeting? You don't know where his hands have been, and after you touched it, you grabbed your phone to check the time. Whatever bacteria you picked up from him has quickly and easily found its way to your phone.

So, just how germy is your phone? Short answer: The sky's the limit. If you're reading this, you probably want the long answer. Here's a list of the common public surfaces that are touched all day long. Keep in mind, this doesn't even scratch the surface of everything we touch throughout the day. 

1. ATM. Turns out those ATMs 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 "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; traces of cocaine can be found on 80 percent of all dollar bills. 

2. Escalator handrails. We can't be the only ones who refuse to touch escalator handrails, and for good reason. 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 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 were bacteria that cause food poisoning and urinary tract infections.

4. Gym. The ugly truth: 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 FitRated.com that shows exactly what you're touching and transferring to your phone each time you work out. 

Disgusting, right? Lucky for you, we've already done all the research on how to avoid germs at the gym. Click here for peace of mind to go along with those perfectly sculpted 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 down everything (not just the keyboard) every couple days will help eliminate any harmful bacteria from multiplying and posing a risk to your health.

6. Airport security bins. Alright, travelers, this one's for you. Airports are constantly busy, seeing people from all over the world all day, every day. Unfortunately, it isn't always feasible to reschedule a flight if you happen to get sick, which 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 percent of all surfaces they swabbed at the airport showed evidence of viruses, including rhinovirus and influenza. The big culprits include 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. Those bins don't look like they've ever been cleaned. Avoiding these things 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 bacteria and viruses find their way to our cell phones. It's important to note that there is such a thing as healthy exposure to germs. However, we should still take 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 disinfect your phone using the PhoneSoap 3 or PhoneSoap Pro. These devices use UV-C light technology to disinfect your phone, killing 99.99% of germs, 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, read our article here.

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

*Testing was conducted in a laboratory setting on actual phones, Apple watch, headphones, credit cards, and keys with a variety of pathogens, including Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and Coronavirus 229E. Real-world results may vary depending on size, shape, and material of phone or phone case. For more information, click here.

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