Just the other day, when I was washing my hands at the sink basin in the ladies room, I noticed a woman coming out of a bathroom stall, with her smartphone in her hands.

Now, I may be in the minority here but, for obvious reasons, I never take my phone into the bathroom with me. A recent MSNBC study reported that allegedly, 19 percent of people drop their smartphones down the toilet.

Please consider that for a moment. In the average family of five, it is likely that one of them has taken his or her smartphone into the bathroom and then, for reasons that would surely cause ordinary minds to boggle without pause, allowed it to slip into the watery beyond. But it was Google that explained to us just how common it all was, in a study that suggested 39 percent of people take their smartphones with them into the loo.

For those of you lucky enough to keep your hands on your smartphones while in a stall and doing your business, (a skill I never want to master, by the way) you are still not completely in the clear. In a frightening statistic, fecal bacteria — that is, germs from poop — can be found on 72% of shopping carts via airborne germs, MSNBC reports.

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So, once again, I’ll ask you to ponder the possibilities. Shopping carts are typically not found in restrooms. So, if you take your smartphone into a stall but not a shopping cart, what is the likely percentage of airborne fecal bacteria landing on your phone? I’ll wait while you consider the percentages. Not to mention, that after you leave the stall, less than 1.3% will clean their phones and resume texting or talking on this now portable germ factory.

But, what if you tell me that my phone was in my pocket the whole time and I wasn’t actually chatting or texting while I was sitting on the can! I would say unlikely, since like most public bathrooms with lots of stalls, you tend to hear much more than you are willing to admit. No the least of which is the fact, that I can see you with the phone in your hands as you exited the stall.

This pairs repeating... 72% of shopping carts, people! So what are the best ways to stay bacteria free and still enjoy your phone in places that would scare most reasonable people?

Here are 5 Tips for maintaining a germ free Smartphone.

Use Lens Cleaning Wipes

Most lens cleaning wipes have antibacterial properties and are pre-moistened with a mild chemical solution that will leave the screen on your phone clear, clean and streak-free. Several companies sell individually packed lens cleaning wipes that can easily be stashed in a pocket or handbag. We recommend that you clean your phone after each and every potty visit.  photo F3514P_Lens_7_Screen_Cleaning_Wipe_Single_Packet.jpg

Resist the Urge to Talk or Text

We know that it may be difficult to do but, you should resist the urge to answer a text or talk on your phone while you are in the bathroom. By keeping your phone securely in your pocket, will reduce the overall percentage of bacteria that will invariably land on the front and back of your phone, while you are indisposed.

Wash your Phone Cover Often

Having a cool or funny phone cover is always cool, unless it makes you sick, literally and physically. Once the surface of your phone and or phone cover becomes contaminated, you become more susceptible to exposure. Exposure comes in many forms, but typically hand-to-hand and, indirect contact (fresh germs on surfaces, like door knobs, sinks, etc.), or airborne (coughing, sneezing, flying snot, etc.) will be the culprit that takes you down. Wash your phone case in warm soapy water if possible. If your phone case is more of the “bedazzled” vernacular, then a bi-weekly spray of Lysol may be in order.

Do Not Share Phones

You’ve been trying to get your “bestie” on the phone all day, only to realize that your other BFF just got a text from here and hands you her phone. To utter a phrase that your mom or grandmother may have repeated ad naseum, “Put that down! You don’t know where it’s been!” This is what speaker phone was invented for people! OK, we realize that you can’t really put a text on speaker but, you can use text-to-speech. Yes, it’s less fun and engaging but, I’ve never really been a fan of having poop on my face, so given the choice, it’s speaker phone and text-to-speech for me, when using someone else’s phone.

Don’t Take Your Phone to the Bathroom

I cannot honestly think of one conversation that is so important that I have to have it with my pants wrapped around my ankles. The one exception might possibly be a meteorite warning for the exact area that I happen to be occupying at that very moment, otherwise everything else can wait. But, what if I’m at the airport, or a concert or a baseball game and I just can’t leave my phone, you say? Secure your phone in a pocket, handbag or the inside pocket of your carry-on luggage.

We’re the first to admit, that while there's plenty of bathroom paranoia to go around, anxiety might be a little overdone. Yes, there can be plenty of bugs lying in wait in public restrooms, including both familiar and unfamiliar suspects like streptococcus, staphylococcus, E. coli and shigella bacteria, hepatitis A virus, the common cold virus, and various sexually transmitted organisms.

But if your immune system is reasonably healthy, and if you adopt simple hygienic measures like hand washing and leaving your phone on your desk in the office or in your handbag or pocket, you should be able to deliver a knockout punch to most of what you encounter and perhaps put your "germ-overload" to rest.