Woman use of smart phone at home

There’s no doubt about it: tablets and cellphones are filthy. But that doesn’t mean these personal items that are lugged around virtually everywhere are more likely to spread sickness than items more commonly touched by various people, reports the Washington Post.

If only one person is using a cellphone or desktop keyboard, then that person is only coming into contact with his or her own microbes, not someone else’s. It’s because of this that people shouldn’t excessively worry about the contact they’re having with their cellphones (at least not more than they would other personal objects like a toothbrush), says one microbiologist cited in the Post’s report. 

This is all provided that the person being referenced is washing his or her hands, of course. Harmful pathogens could be spread if someone is going over a recipe on their cellphone as they prepare a meal. For example, if that person is going back and forth between the phone and ingredients like raw meat, without washing their hands, there is the potential to pass on something like E. coli.

Where a personal objects is being used makes a difference, too. The microbiologist in the Post’s report says using a cellphone while using public transit provides an opportunity to spread sickness because the user is coming into contact with objects touched by others. So in a nutshell, it’s more appropriate to evaluate what environment a person is in when they’re touching an object than the object itself.

Whether a person is coming into contact with a cellphone or a commonly touched item like a door handle elevator button the best way to prevent sickness is through hand washing. If someone still wants an extra layer of protection from the germs on their cellphone after washing his or her hands, he or she can grab a device-cleaning wipe or simply wipe it with water.

For tips on washing hands, review this excerpt from a past story by Facility Cleaning Decisions