A new study has now found that the average mobile phone is almost seven times dirtier than a toilet seat.
The study added that while those in leather cases harbour the most bacteria, even smartphones in wipe-clean plastic cases have more than six times the germs found on a lavatory seat.
Notably, despite this, the survey found, two in five office workers take their smartphones into the bathroom at their workplace
The survey, conducted by Initial Washroom Hygiene, took swab samples from smartphones using a handheld device which lights up live microbes where they appear on a surface.
A toilet seat scanned this way shows up 220 bright spots where bacteria lurk but the average mobile phone had 1,479.
Speaking about it, professor Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said that swabbing a smartphone is almost like checking a handkerchief for germs – one is likely to find them because of the close physical contact they have with this device several times a day.
He added, “There will be norovirus on phones at this time of year but the bugs on smartphones will probably be people’s own bacteria so the likelihood of passing on disease is low.”
In 2011 scientists at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found one in six mobile phones were contaminated with faecal matter, including the E. coli bugs which can cause food poisoning and stomach bugs.
The latest study looked at 50 phones, recording the highest bacteria reading for a smartphone in a leather case, which was also a wallet, and showed up almost 17 times the amount of bacteria on a toilet seat.
The average for a plastic case was 1,454, which is almost seven times the reading for toilet seat germs.
Experts believe phones become so dirty because they are taken into the bathroom, so are exposed to the same germs as lavatory handles and seats.