Health & Medicine

Text in the bathroom? Your smartphone might carry more germs than your toilet

There are several reasons to put away your phone or tablet when you’re bathing, grooming or taking care of business.
There are several reasons to put away your phone or tablet when you’re bathing, grooming or taking care of business. Dreamstime

Here’s a habit you might want to flush: taking your smart devices to the bathroom.

In 2015, Verizon posted a survey of its customers that revealed 90 percent used their phone in the bathroom.

There are several reasons to leave your phone or tablet when you’re bathing, grooming or taking care of business according to a recent USA Today article by Brett Molina. Not the least of these is that your smartphone likely carries more germs than your toilet. The article cited a 2011 study from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in which one in every six phones contained fecal matter.

“You’ve got to think of your mobile devices as an extension of yourself,” Jason Tetro, a scientist and author of “The Germ Files,” told USA Today. “Anything your cellphone touches, imagine that’s your hands.” He told the newspaper the best way to clean phones is with wipes made for electronics.

Germs are just one reason bathrooms and smart devices aren’t a good pairing.

You are one clumsy move away from having your device destroyed by a sink, bathtub or toilet. Even if your phone is water-resistant, the paper asks, “do you really want to reach into the toilet for your phone?”

The habit is potentially dangerous. People have died using their charging devices in the bathroom. Earlier this year a 14-year-old girl from Lubbock, Texas, died after she was electrocuted while using her plugged-in phone in the bath. Installing ground fault circuit interrupters in bathrooms and kitchens is recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to prevent severe shocks.

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