It’s become the norm now to take your phone to the bathroom.
And we’re all guilty of it – it’s become a time to respond to texts, check how many Instagram likes you probably didn’t get, and browse Facebook aimlessly. It gets shit done, while getting shit done, and gives you a nice little break that lasts a whole lot longer than it probably should.
So win-win, right? Well not really.
When you go to the toilet but forget your phone pic.twitter.com/VjwVdIonCh
— Medieval Reactions (@MedievalReacts) October 12, 2015
Your phone is much more of a breeding ground for bacteria than you actually would think.
Speaking to BuzzFeed, Charles Gerba, Ph.D., professor of microbiology, and Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental health, at the University of Arizona, spoke about how the habit can actually make you sick.
This is what they said:
Toilets are COVERED in germs
The experts say that the most contaminated surfaces in the bathroom are the door and toilet handles, the sink faucet and the floor. And in a really gross study, research found that one-fourth of purses had fecal matter on them just from resting on bathroom floors.
Gerba says: “Bathrooms are covered in germs, pathogens, and enteric bacteria (from the intestinal tract), mostly from fecal matter.”
There is dirty toilet water EVERYWHERE
Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Apparently there is aerosolized dirty toilet water literally everywhere – including the toilet paper holder you rest your phone on.
Reynolds says: “When you flush the toilet, water with feces and urine sprays about six feet in every direction.” He adds that aeosols increase with every flush, so, if it’s a public bathroom, there is dirty toilet water literally on everything.
Reynolds also says that the surface that aerosols settle on can transmit germs between people – so think twice before setting your phone down.
These germs can transmit nasty viruses
According to the experts, there have been outbreaks of tons of viruses linked to public bathrooms including norovirus, E. coli, salmonella, hepatitis A, Streptococcus, the common stomach flu, and more.
Gerba says norovirus is a very common cause of adult diarrhea and it’s almost always linked to bad hand-washing.
This is why we wash our hands well, everyone.
Your phone – basically and extension of your hand – doesn’t get washed
I don’t think many of us eat on the toilet. But we do bring our phone into the bathroom, and then go eat elsewhere. And, although some of us don’t think about it, all those germs that have touched your phone have touched your fingers – and now your food.
So, essentially, even if you wash your hands really well, if you bring your phone with you it’s as though you’ve never washed your hands. Gross.
According to BuzzFeed, studies at the University of Arizona show that 9 out of 10 phones had a potential disease-causing microbe, with 16 per cent testing positive for fecal matter.
I think what we’ve all learned here is that it’s probably best to leave our phones far, far away while we use the bathroom for its intended purpose.
So, just, don’t.