According to a research, mobile phones are covered with up to 18 times more living bacteria than the flush handle on a men’s lavatory.
Swabs and analysis of 30 mobile handsets found that seven had high or warning levels of environmental bacteria.
One contained such an intense concentration of bacteria, including faecal coli forms, that anyone using it could have faced a serious stomach upset.
While not immediately harmful, elevated levels of bacteria indicate poor hygiene and can act as a breeding ground for more serious germs.
A hygiene expert said that the levels of potentially harmful bacteria on one mobile were off the scale and that phone needed sterilising.
The tests showed how easily bacteria could linger on the surface of a phone, which could be passed on to other people if they held the handset to look at photos or other applications.
Researchers advise that phones can be cleaned with an alcohol wipe.