Why You Should Install a Phone Shelf in Your Bathroom ASAP

A convenient spot to put your phone in the bathroom is more essential than you may think—fortunately, a phone shelf is a simple solution.

A cell phone shelf is a clever addition that can make your trips to the bathroom safer for both you and your cell phone. You already have a toilet paper holder, whether it’s attached to the wall or a freestanding unit that’s pretty and functional. For many decades, that was enough for toilet-area shelving. But now that we’re practically attached to our mobile phones, our phones go with us everywhere—even into the bathroom. This is where a phone shelf comes in.

pegboard storage in the bathroom

Jessica Klewicki Glynn

Think about it: How many times have you dashed into the bathroom, phone in hand (or pocket), and had to leave your phone sitting on the edge of the (probably wet) sink, in some other potentially disastrous spot (toilet tank lids are an accident waiting to happen), or, worst of all, balanced in your hand? Putting your phone in such a risky situation poses plenty of concerns, both to the safety of your phone and to its cleanliness level.

Unfortunately, cell phones falling into toilets occurs way too frequently. A study by DukGear, a cell phone cover company, reports that 28% of cell phone users will drop their phone into liquid—most often, into the toilet (yikes!). Plus, a 2021 survey by Vioguard, Inc., an infection protection and sanitization company, found that 73% of Americans use their phones while sitting on the toilet—and for those ages 18 to 29, the percentage jumps to 93%.

Obviously, bathrooms are filled with germs, and using your phone while on the toilet only increases the possibility of particles—think fecal matter, among other things—landing on your screen. Plenty of research demonstrates the high rate of bacterial contamination on cellphones. And honestly, do you clean your phone nearly as often as you wash your hands? Your hands get regular washing: Your cellphone does not. Keeping your phone on a phone shelf—plus maintaining a regular phone cleaning routine—can reduce the germy residue you carry with you when you’ve finished in the bathroom. 

neutral bathroom arched details built-in cubbies
Werner Straube

A phone shelf is the perfect answer to where to put your phone while attending to necessary matters. You have plenty of options for phone shelves: You can find them built into toilet paper holders or add a free-standing (free-hanging?) one. If you’re taking on a larger bathroom renovation, you could make sure to include a flat surface near the toilet that can serve as a phone shelf, or even situate a small table, cart, or other bathroom storage unit close enough to the toilet that it functions as a phone shelf when needed.

However you set it up, this simple ledge may be the most ingenious addition to your bathroom for your cell phone’s well-being—and your own. Just be sure to clean that shelf regularly, too.

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  1. Olsen, Matthew et al. “Mobile phones represent a pathway for microbial transmission: A scoping review.” Travel medicine and infectious disease vol. 35: 101704. doi:10.1016/j.tmaid.2020.101704

  2. Ulger, Fatma et al. “Are we aware how contaminated our mobile phones with nosocomial pathogens?.” Annals of clinical microbiology and antimicrobials vol. 8 7. doi:10.1186/1476-0711-8-7

  3. Koscova, Jana et al. “Degree of Bacterial Contamination of Mobile Phone and Computer Keyboard Surfaces and Efficacy of Disinfection with Chlorhexidine Digluconate and Triclosan to Its Reduction.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 15,10 2238. doi:10.3390/ijerph15102238

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