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How Dirty Are Your Tech Gadgets?

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The smartphone you put right up to your cheek, or the tablet you hold in your hands, is quite possibly dirtier--in terms of germs--than a toilet seat, according to scientific research.

College student Xandy Peterson let us swab her phone and send the samples off to the lab for testing.

"I use it for everything and I, I have it in bed with me and I eat with it next to me, so I think my exposure is…is high," said Peterson.

While many young people may simply wipe the screen with their shirt, or on their pants, that may not get all the microscopic gunk off.

University of Arizona Microbiologist Charles Gerba tested so-called "phone hygene products," like wipes designed especially for screens.

"With mobile equipment we've made more germs more mobile today. They can move around," said Gerba.

Gerba tested the product Kleen wipes which proved to be effective.

"They reduced the number of bacteria to an undetectable level," Gerba said.

Cleanwell disinfectant, also tested by Gerba, proved positive for killing bacteria.

"The spray solution seemed to eliminate the number of bacteria very readily from the surface," said Dr. Gerba.

Dr. Gerba also tested the portable UV light cleaners, and was surprised to see how well they worked. He said that between 75-percent and 100-percent of the time it worked at eliminating the presence of germs.

Of course getting rid of germs on the screen of a phone or tablet is important, but it's also vital you don't wreck your screen in the process.

TechnoBuffalo's Executive Director of Mobile, Todd Hasleton warns consumer to be cautious.

"You could accidentally get liquid inside the headphone jack, which would ruin your audio experience inside the speakers; get liquid inside the speakers, inside the microphone, in which case nobody would be able to hear you on the phone. Or you could get it inside of the charging port, which could fry your electronic completely," said Hasleton.

Hasleton said that the phones of tomorrow will be designed with cleanliness in mind. He expects the next generation of phones to have anti-microbial covers and be water resistant.

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