Chances are that no matter how charming of a ringtone you heard coming from a toilet seat, you wouldn’t stick your face against it to find out who was calling. The reason? It’s not supernatural – toilets are disgusting.

However, the majority of the population doesn’t seem to have any problem doing this with their cell phones, and according Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, these handy little devices carry 10 times more bacteria than toilet seats.

The reason is that toilets are traditionally filthy places that serve as porcelain petri dishes that grow everything from unspeakable new diseases to several frightening variations of the bogeyman. Because of this, toilets are subject to frequent disinfection and scrubbing.

Yet, cell phones can be equally as germy, considering they are handled on a daily basis and are often times placed on restaurant tables, bars and even taken into the various public restrooms without ever once receiving a single cleaning.

The problem is not necessarily the amount of germs on a phone. It is the promiscuous use of cell phones between various people. According to Gerba, as long as cell phones carry only one set of germs they will not make the owner of the phone ill.

That’s why remote controls are often culprits in making people sick, says Gerba, who also points out that other common germ infested areas include office phones, shopping carts and the first-floor buttons of elevators.

Gerba adds that antibacterial wipes go a long way in preventing the spread of diseases.

Now, go clean your phones!

[Today]