Vital Vio, a company that specializes in antibacterial white light, surveyed 1,200 Americans to create a report on their health risks and cleaning rituals. The bad news is for people; the good news is for bacteria.

Human contact with bacteria is normal, to an extent: the average person encounters 60,000 different types of bacteria daily.

But the report found that there’s a big gap between daily behaviors and the need to protect themselves from dangerous bacteria and microbes. It’s partly due to Americans’ cleanliness habits – especially while traveling or using electronic devices – that allow openings for these harmful bacteria.

You’re much dirtier than you think

  • 52% only clean a surface in their house if it looks dirty. (For this reason, men have filthier homes than women. Almost three in five men clean a surface when it looks like it “needs it”.
  • 50% would prefer to eat a sandwich on public transit than in their own bathroom.
  • 88% use their phone while using their bathroom.

What aren’t we doing when we clean?’

  • Well, for starts, 58% clean their bed sheets more than their shower.

Also, there are places in their homes that people clean religiously, and there are places that they spend much of their time in that they barely give an afterthought to purifying.

  • While the majority (87%) of folks clean their kitchen and bathroom (80%) on a weekly basis, about only 1 in 5 clean their bedrooms (18%), or their home office (21%) just once a month.

The graph below should give you an idea:

People just aren’t cleaning enough

● Four in five (80%) clean their bathroom once a week, while three in four (76%) clean their bedroom once a week, and just three in five (61%) clean their home office once per week.
● Women (84%) were more likely than men (75%) to clean their bathroom once a week, while one in five men (20%) admit to cleaning their bathroom just once a month. Eww!

Phone follies

But the survey’s real shocker centered around our digital devices – and whether or not they were spreading disease.

To start, almost half of people (46%) bring their phones into public restrooms every time they go. And if that doesn’t gross you out enough, research revealed that  88% of adults usually toted their phone with them into private bathrooms. To do what? No one said.

To illustrate just how befouled most phones have become, researchers estimate that a normally used smartphone that has never been cleaned may contain more bacteria than an entire household bathroom.

Our phones are making us ill

We touch our phones so much that they act as a pathogen for disease. The 88% who take their phones into the bathroom aside, the majority surveyed said they used their phones while cooking (89%), on public transit (80%), and more. That means the devices are given more and more chances to be exposed to strep, E. Coli, and to staph.

Of course, a little cleaning and sanitizing would help immensely – only 23% have never done this. Even more oddly, some respondents even admitted to putting their phones in their mouths when their hands were full.

Human behavior is immensely weird, and it only takes a survey on cleaning and cell phone use to bring it out further.

Make this the day you sanitize and wipe down your phone.

Originally published on Ladders.

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