How To Properly Sanitize Your Phone

By Loraine Balita-Centeno on March 23 2020 in How to

Your cellphone is probably one of the dirtiest items in your home.
Your cellphone is probably one of the dirtiest items in your home.
  • Many disinfecting wipes can now be used to clean cellphones.
  • Your cellphone is ten times dirtier than a toilet seat.
  • According to a survey by Deloitte, Americans check their phones around 47 times per day.

Your cellphone could be the most frequently used item that you own. It’s one you touch the most and the item that’s almost always near your face. Some people even admit to using their phones while in the bathroom. This is why your phone is one of the dirtiest items in the house. In fact, it is even ten times dirtier than most toilet seats! This is according to research by microbiologists from the University of Arizona. "While toilets tend to get cleaned frequently because people associate the bathroom with germs, cellphones and other commonly handled objects - like remote controls - are often left out of the cleaning routine."

A Carrier of Infectious Diseases

Similarly, researchers from Yarmouk University in Jordan found that pathogenic bacteria can live on the surface of a mobile phone. These include eight bacterial species, namely Staphylococcus epidermidis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Bacillus cereus, Micrococcus spp. and Escherichia coli.

This shows that your mobile phones can act as a carrier of infectious diseases. Even viruses like the coronavirus that has been making its rounds worldwide, can land on the surface of a phone if an infected person coughs or sneezes on it. And since people use their cellphones all day and then touch their face or mouth after, it’s easy for bacteria or viruses to latch onto the phone and then get inside the body.

Why Do Viruses and Bacteria Thrive on Phones

The phone is one item at home we use very often, touch and hold all day, and put against our face or mouth. It’s placed on many different surfaces and carried around everywhere. It’s also the item we often pass around people when we’re trying to show them photos or videos. Aside from this, the phone remains warm throughout the day because we are always using it. This type of environment makes it easier for bacteria to grow and thrive. And not a lot of people think of cleaning their phones regularly. So it remains a filthy melting pot of bacteria, virus, and everything nasty like fecal matter. Yes, some studies have found that one in six cellphones contain fecal matter too.

How to Clean Your Phone

It’s important to note that you cannot use too much water or excessive moisture since it can damage electronics. You also need to be careful with wipes you use, since abrasive materials can damage the phone’s screen, or at the very least its protective layer that’s supposed to repel dirt and oil.

There are specialized cleaning products you can use to clean your phone. These include non-abrasive microfiber cloths, special screen wipes, and screen cleaners you can purchase online. There are also phone cleaning kits and UltraViolet (UV) Light smartphone sanitizers. The latter looks like a small pod that has germicidal UV bulbs that sanitize the entire phone and promises to kill 99.9% of all bacteria and germs on the phone.

But you can also use items you can find at home to sanitize your phone. First, you need to remove the phone from its case and wipe the surface gently using a microfiber cloth. A microfiber cloth doesn’t cause abrasion on the phone’s screen and is an effective tool in lifting dirt and grease that may have gotten stuck all over the gadget. Then you can use disinfecting wipes to sanitize the phone. Make sure to read the label to check if the brand you are using can kill bacteria and viruses and if it's safe to use for gadgets especially the phone’s screen! Wipe all surfaces with the disinfecting wipe, but avoid ports. Let your phone air dry for 10 minutes. Using a clean piece of tissue or microfiber cloth, wipe away excess moisture from your device. Then repeat the same process to clean your phone’s case.

In the absence of disinfecting wipes, you can use a mixture of half parts distilled or filtered water and half parts rubbing alcohol. Avoid using tap water as it can sometimes leave mineral traces on the phone’s screen. Dab the cloth into a bit of this mixture and use this to gently wipe all surfaces of the screen. Do the same to clean the case.

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