It's safe to say no one likes germs, and if you're an outright germophobe, you might want to listen extra closely to this one. Cell phones have about 10 times as many germs as the average toilet seat, and if that doesn't make you cringe, nothing will. According to a microbiologist from the University of Arizona, Charles Gerba, the problem with phones is that not only do we carry them with us all the time and everywhere — including into the toilet — but we pass them around to other people for a germ-swapping show of our photos and videos. That's where the danger really comes in, as we're generally not made sick by our own phone germs — we're made sick by other people's phone germs.
It's worse than you think, too. When Buzzfeed writer Caroline Kee surprised her coworkers by swabbing their phones for germs and handing the samples over to Columbia University's Medical Center to see what would grow, 100 percent of the phones grew something. There were a handful of germs that are common to all of us, but others were more scary. There was MRSA, staphylococcus aureus (which causes staph infections and toxic shock syndrome), and E. coli.
Gerba says this teeming mass of bacteria, mold, and viruses thrives because we tend not to clean our phones. Fortunately, it's a simple thing to do. There are a number of commercial cleaning solutions available, but you can also use a diluted alcohol spray to make sure your phone is actually as clean as it looks. You're welcome.