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U.S. adults ‘blissfully unaware of the bacterial risks’ of poor cleaning habits, report shows

January 22, 2020

Troy, NY — Nearly one-quarter of U.S. adults have never disinfected their cellphone despite most using their devices in bathrooms – and some even putting their phone in their mouth, according to a report from antibacterial light company Vital Vio.

For the report, titled The Dirty Truth, researchers surveyed 1,200 U.S. adults to learn about their daily cleaning habits, the ways they protect themselves from disease while traveling and mobile device cleaning routines. Around 23% of the respondents said they’ve never cleaned or wiped down their cellphones, despite 88% using their phone while in the bathroom and 41% holding their phones in their mouth while their hands are full.

Among parents, 93% use their phone while in the bathroom, compared with 83% of nonparents. Parents also are more likely to use their phones while preparing meals (93%), compared with 85% of nonparents.

“Mobile devices could host more bacteria than someone’s household bathroom (which 4 out of 5 [adults] clean once a week),” the report states.

Other findings:

  • Nearly half of the respondents (48%) eat lunch at their work desk, but only 33% clean their desk at least once a week. Further, 20% don’t wash their hands before eating at the office.
  • 58% clean their bed sheets more often than their shower.
  • 20% have never cleaned their TV remotes, and 19% have never cleaned their light switches.
  • 23% don’t wash their hands after using public transportation, even though 39% travel on public transportation even when they’re sick.

“Gaps in American cleaning habits aren’t just creating dirtier spaces, they are putting our families and communities at greater risk of getting sick,” Vital Vio CEO Colleen Costello said in a Nov. 19 press release. “‘The Dirty Truth’ survey spotlights that most people are blissfully unaware of the bacterial risks they are taking, especially when it comes to the mobile devices they touch and use for hours a day.”

The report was published online Nov. 19.