Cell phones: Dirtier than your toilet seat?
News station KARE 11 from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota recently reported on an experiment news crew members performed regarding the cleanliness of cell phones. Their verdict? Yuck! They're filthy. In fact, they easily are capable of carrying more bacteria than that which can be found on a bathroom door or toilet seat.
Ten employees, including some of the reporters, volunteered to have their phones swabbed for Petri dish cultures. While no extremely dangerous bacteria was found after two days of cultivation, one sample tested positive for coliform. Interesting as well was what surface gathered the most bacteria. While one person's cell phone only grew 90 colony forming units, another person's phone produced 5,000 colony forming units. One other phone's culture cultivated 8,900! The difference? The phones with covers carried much, much more bacteria. The phone that only produce 90 units was bare. While those soft, spongy covers feel nice and protect the phone, their surfaces are porous and are excellent breeding grounds for germs.
What about the bathrooms? A local gym's bathroom was swabbed, both its door and toilet seats. In comparison to the phones, the door cultivated 940 colony forming units, and the toilet seat cultivated 6,100. Why is this, you might ask? Why would a toilet seat have less bacteria than a dirty cell phone? It might be because we do consider our toilet seats to be gross, and so we routinely clean them. Even so, we don't put our toilet seats up to our ears multiple times a day; do yourself a favor during flu season -- take an antibacterial wipe to your cell phone.