Image via Shutterstock
You’re probably reading this while holding an object that’s dirtier than your toilet.
A study in 2018 concluded that the average smartphone has more than six times the germs found on toilet seats. It’s a shocking but reasonable number, as your phone is one thing you carry with you almost everywhere.
Research conducted in 2011 by a team at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine even found fecal matter on one out of every six smartphones, which are hotbeds for Streptococcus, antibiotic-resistant MRSA, and E. coli.
Dr Charles Gerba, professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, explained in a statement via USA Today that your hands and fingers are picking up more germs than ever because of the many surfaces you are exposed to, including ATM machines and self-checkout kiosks. The accumulated bacteria is then left on your phone by your fingers, and can spread when you bring it closer to your eyes, nose and mouth.
While normal bacteria isn’t too concerning, you might fall sick from coughing into your phone, leaving viruses to live on your screen for hours, which can even be spread to others, detailed Susan Whittier, director of clinical microbiology at the New York-Presbyterian and Columbia University Medical Center. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, this data is worrying.
You now see the importance of cleaning your phone regularly. USA Today has a lengthy set of instructions on how to properly clean different types of smartphones, and Mashable has prepared tips on keeping various phone cover materials germ-free. Scroll down for a quick rundown, and head over to the aforementioned sites for more info.
Cleaning your smartphone
If you’re an iPhone user, Apple has a comprehensive guide on cleaning individual models. Across its lineup, the company suggests not to use liquids or disinfectants, which could clog up openings or erode the coating on your iPhone. Cleaning wipes or ordinary household soap are A-okay for Google Pixels, and Motorola recommends using a microfiber cloth.
For waterproof phones, you can prepare a cleaning solution by mixing isopropyl rubbing alcohol with distilled water and putting the formula in a spray bottle, and then sanitizing your devices by spraying them and wiping them up with either a microfiber cloth or cotton swabs.
Remember to wear gloves or wash your hands before cleaning your phone to prevent further contagion of germs.
For ways to clean non-waterproof smartphones, click here.
Cleaning your smartphone case
If you use a plastic phone cover, it’s alright to use stronger cleaning solutions like bleach—just a tablespoon with every cup of water—as the material is more durable. Soak the plastic case in the solution for five to 10 minutes, and then scrub it down with a sponge, cloth, or a toothbrush for hard-to-reach areas.
Be sure to wear gloves, as bleach can irritate your skin and lungs. If you’re uncomfortable about using bleach, regular dish soap will work too.
As rubber and silicone cases aren’t as sturdy, a milder cleaning solution of dish soap and water would suffice.
Across the board, clean your case with a disinfecting wipe every week and follow the sanitizing routine once a month.
More details on cleaning your phone cover can be found here.
Wish to play it safe? Here’s how you can make your own hand sanitizer with minimal ingredients.
[via USA Today and Mashable, cover image via Shutterstock]