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How clean is your mobile phone?

Mobiles can harbour more bacteria than a loo flush
A stack of mobile phones

Bacteria can linger on a mobile phone surface

Mobile phones can harbour on average 18 times more living bacteria than a flush on a gents’ toilet, Which? has discovered 

If Which? findings were representative of all UK mobiles, millions could exceed the acceptable levels of bacteria recommended by our hygiene expert.

Is your old phone in need of an upgrade? Check out the free advice and expert reviews at Which? Mobile.

Which? tests reveal dirty mobiles

After a hygiene expert swabbed and analysed 30 handsets, 7 mobiles were dirty and had warning or high levels of environmental bacteria (TVC). While not immediately harmful, elevated TVC levels indicate poor hygiene, and could act as a breeding ground for worse bacterial nasties.

One mobile had such high levels of potentially harmful bacteria that it could give its user a serious stomach upset. Bugs found on the dirtiest mobile included faecal Coliforms (often associated with faecal matter) and Enterobacteriaceae (which includes bugs such as Salmonella):

Worst offender
Bacteria type ‘Pass’ level Dirtiest mobile level
TVC <1000 10,500 (10.5 x pass)
Enterobacteriae <100 3,900 (39 x pass)
Faecal coliforms <10 1,700 (170 x pass)

Keep your mobile clean

Which? tests show how common it can be for bacteria to linger on the surface of a mobile phone. These bacteria could be passed on if, for example, you held the same mobile phone to look at photos. To minimise the risk of harmful bugs, wash your hands regularly and clean your phone carefully using a fairly dry alcohol wipe.

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