HEALTHY LIVING

Your Phone Is Germier Than You Could Ever Imagine

02/18/2015 04:38 pm ET | Updated Feb 18, 2015

In an epic battle of Phone vs. Toilet, BuzzFeedBlue investigates which surface is dirtier -- the one we tap on to do business or the one we sit on to do business.

Dr. William DePaolo, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California in the Molecular Microbiology and Immunology department, compared testing swabs taken from the screens of BuzzFeed employees phones for bacteria and swabs collected from a toilet. The results were kind of crappy (sorry): The toilet contained about three different kinds of bacteria and fungal species, while the cell phone contained, on average, 10 to 12 kinds of bacteria and fungal species.

This is not entirely surprising: Our phones go everywhere with us, including the bathroom, meaning they encounter far more flora than the fixed-in-place toilet. What's more -- and perhaps more relevant -- toilets, particularly the corporate office toilet used in this experiment -- are cleaned regularly. Phones? Well, that's up to the individual user. (And, in truth, we find fault in this study design -- for a true understanding of phone vs. toilet, DePaolo and team would have had to swab each phone owner's individual toilet, to accommodate hygiene differences.)

But we digress. If you still feel like crawling into a (germ-free) hole, know that there are ways to de-germ your phone. (Whatever you do, don't use your kitchen sponge.)

Start by removing your phone case from the phone and clean it with soap and water. Don't put it back on the phone until it's dry. As for your actual phone, CNET suggests rubbing a dry (unused) toothbrush around the device's small ports and crevices to remove tiny pieces of debris and lint. You might also consider investing in a pack of pre-made electronic wipes; be sure to stay away from liquid cleaning products. Always power down your device before you begin to sanitize, and use a clean cloth to wipe down your gadget when your finished.

(H/t: BuzzFeed)

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