Bad news for tech-loving germaphobes: Your smartphone, with its cozy warm screen and constant access to your face, is a paradise for bacteria that can make you sick, reports the Wall Street Journal. It doesn't help that we take them with us everywhere, and that most phone cleaners are either ineffective or harmful to the device. "We're feeding the little creatures," says a professor of microbiology and immunology. "We've all seen that greasy smear. Where there is grease, there are bugs."
The WSJ had eight phones tested in a lab, and found they contained high numbers of coliforms (read: fecal matter). They also tested cleaning methods. Alcohol was the most effective, but Apple and BlackBerry explicitly say not to use it to clean their products. There is hope, though. A new device coming in January uses UV light rays to kill germs without touching the phone, and other developers are making microscopic patterns similar to shark skin, which is known to be resistant to bacteria. That's not the only thing their skin is good for. (Read more smartphones stories.)