Toilets: the phone may be contaminated with feces if used in the bathroom
Old habits die hard and bad toilet practices provide some of the clearest examples of this adage. There are endless mistakes people make while going to the bathroom that can prove harmful. One of the most common seems innocuous on the surface: scrolling through your phone while doing your business.
Hussain Abdeh, superintendent pharmacist at Direct medicine, explained, “Using your cell phone in the bathroom is one of the most unhygienic things you can do.”
“A lot of people pass the time during a bowel movement by browsing social media, swiping on dating apps, or playing online games.”
However, as the online pharmacist explained, bringing your phone into the bathroom means it can get contaminated with germs such as feces.
“As a result, even after you’ve washed your hands, you’re still carrying seriously harmful bacteria out of the bathroom with you.”
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Hygiene expert Jim Francis, who carried out the tests, said: ‘Levels of potentially harmful bacteria on a mobile were off the scale. This phone must be sterilized.
The least hygienic phone had more than ten times the acceptable level of TVC and seven were above the threshold.
The worst culprit also had 39 times the safe level of Enterobacteriaceae – a group of bacteria that live in the lower intestines of humans and animals and include insects such as Salmonella.
It had 170 times the acceptable level of fecal coliforms, which are associated with human waste.
Other bacteria, including the food poisoning bugs e.coli and staphylococcus aureus, have been found on phones, but at safe levels.
Which? Researcher Ceri Stanaway said: “Most phones didn’t have immediately harmful bacteria that would make you sick right away, but they were dirtier than they could be.
“Bugs can end up on your hands, which is fertile ground, and be sent back to your phone. They can transfer back and forth and eventually you might catch something nasty.
“What this shows is how easy it is to come into contact with bacteria. People think of toilets as something dirty to the touch, but they have less bacteria than phones.
“People need to be aware of this by observing good hygiene themselves and among other things who they pass the phone to when looking at photos, for example.”
Other Ways Germs and Bacteria Spread
According to the NHS, underwear is more likely to harbor germs than outerwear like jumpers or trousers.
“Underwear can carry germs from traces of feces (poop) and genital infections, such as thrush,” warns the health body.
“However, you can also pick up germs on your outer clothing, for example if you’re caring for a sick person or cleaning up vomit.”