People with urine on their hands, touching their electronic devices

So this is my OCD brain really thinking too much about things, but it’s quite common for people, especially men, to not wash their hands after using the restroom, and for there to be, hence, urine on their hands, and then urine on the door handles, and other surfaces (Yuck, but my OCD brain just simply keeps mental track of what’s contaminated and what’s not)…

Now, can someone with knowledge of electronics comment on what happens when these people simply then start using their smartphones and other devices, and then touch, for instance, the USB cable ports, etc.? Let’s track that mentally: There’s piss on their hands, and they’re getting that urine into the computer/smartphone USB ports.

Ummm…isn’t this ammonia/urea stuff just waiting to wreak havoc on the electronics within the computer/smartphone?

Most people do not routinely urinate on their hands. If you do, then you’re doing it wrong.

Obviously, not directly, but there’s enough contamination from the substance from handling the relevant body parts, if you know what I mean.

I just piss directly into the USB port.

I can’t quite decide if you are serious.

Urine has a relatively neutral pH. I understand it’s a bit acidic in the morning and a bit basic later in the day. Or it might be the other way around. Orange juice is massively more acidic than urine and as to lemon juice let’s not even go there. Soap is typically quite basic.

The real worry is getting DHMO on your hands when using the faucets and failing to use appropriate decontamination procedures subsequently. DHMO causes massive damage to electronics (not to mention what it’s capable of doing to people)

I hate to tell you this, but everything is contaminated. Not just urine, but shit too. There’s literally tiny particles of shit everywhere, on everything you touch, all the time.

No there isn’t ‘enough contaminaton’

If you fail to wash your hands, **then **prepare food, then store that food unsafely, there is an increased risk of something bad happening, but (I will assert without citation, as this is MPSIMS) you inhaled more bacteria this morning than you will get from third-hand transfer on a USB cable.

When I use a public mensroom I wash, but do not dry, my hands. Then when I go back to my gf/friends I dry my hands on them as proof that I washed.

Nice. Took me a sec to get the joke.

DHMO = Di-Hydrogen Monoxide = H2O = Water. Cute!


If you’ve ever been around a child between about 1 and 5 for any extended period of time, you’ll get a good handle on just HOW disgusting everything is, because your child made it that way.

As parents you do your dead level best, but sometimes you’re a guy with a bucket trying to keep the *Titanic *afloat.

I’m just going to reiterate that people don’t normally piss on their hands, so worries about urine damaging the phone are a bit silly. The microscopic amount of splash that might get on someone’s hand is nothing compared to what’s floating around in the air normally. The reason for hand-washing after using the restroom is to clean up bacteria on your hands (which is especially important if you’re going to be handling food), but bacteria aren’t going to hurt a plastic and metal smartphone.

Old college rivalry joke: A person from “State” and a person from “Tech” are at adjacent urinals in the restroom. “State” finishes up and is headed for the door.

Tech: “You know, at Tech we wash our hands before leaving the restroom.”

State: “Yeah, well at State we don’t pee all over our hands!”

Given that electronic equipment doesn’t often show signs of corrosion at the USB port, I’ll wager it’s no big deal. As noted upthread, even in the case of a Neanderthal who pisses directly at the porcelain and develops the maximum amount of backsplash onto his hands, it’s still not a lot, and it’s mostly going to be on the backs of his hands. Very little will end up on the ventral surface of his finger tips, and even less will end up on things like his phone. The urea concentration in urine is on the order of a couple percent; when all is said and done, you’re talking about micrograms (possibly even nanograms) of urea ending up on things like USB connectors. From there it can’t easily get inside the phone, and it has neutral pH, so corrosion of the USB connector isn’t going to be an issue. To the extent that it breaks down into ammonia, again it’s a tiny amount, and the latter is a gas and will diffuse away into the atmosphere rather than seeping into the interior of the phone.

Bottom line? Avoiding damage to your cell phone is not a compelling motive for hand-washing. This doesn’t take away from other VERY good public-health reasons for washing your hands after using the bathroom.

Never mind that, what about people who use their devices while they’re using the toilet?

It’s only a problem if they’re using the device to wipe.

Ah, yes, the joy of using Airport restrooms. Hearing all of the conversations going on while guys are in the middle of the business at hand. :stuck_out_tongue:

There’s an app for that…

The moment of realization. (Cartoon possibly NSFW)

Sweat is a bigger problem.
But, yeah, the OP might need to adjust his meds…

I don’t generally use my phone while in the toilet, but neither do I leave it outside. Apparently, one of my cow-orkers noticed that I don’t leave my phone at my desk when I go to the restroom. She was horrified.
She: You carry your phone into the bathroom?!?!?
Me: Um, yeah. It stays in my pocket.
She: But it still gets contaminated! And then you put it to your face!!!
Me: I also carry my face into the bathroom, and I keep it right out in the open…