Our phones provide connection, communication and knowledge – we sleep with them, eat with them and carry them in our pockets. We’re connected to our phones more than ever– Americans now check their phones 96 times a day – that’s once every 10 minutes, according to new research. Eighteen- to 24- year-olds check their phones twice as much as the national average. And for the first time, texting is now king across all age groups. Baby Boomers are now seven times more likely to text than they are to talk in-person and are twice as likely to send a text instead of call.
Our smartphones are constantly attached to us and go EVERYWHERE (yes, EVERYWHERE!) we go. But after all of the phone calls, cat videos, likes, shares and setting then down on tables, bathroom counters, etc., have you ever thought about just how grimy your mobile phone gets throughout the day? The answer may surprise you.
Newsflash: Our phones are disgusting!
In fact, cell phones are one of the dirtiest things we encounter daily. In 2017, researchers from the University of Arizona studied germs on the cell phones of high school students and found that their devices carried 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. Yikes. And yet, very rarely do people clean their phones. So germs and bacteria continue to build up and accumulate, including E. coli, influenza and MRSA, just to name a few. This is gross, but it’s even grosser when you think about how much time you spend tapping, swiping, and pressing your cheek against that thing. But the issue isn’t just that phones are super germy; it’s that they’re the ideal vehicles for spreading germs to other people.
Many phones have touch screens, and germs are easily spread from your phone to your hands and face, increasing the chance of infections. And we’re in constant contact with them, and they spend a lot of time near our face and mouth. With coronavirus cases rising in the U.S.—and flu season still in full force—it is essential to make sure the surfaces you’re touching are disinfected. And the surface you probably touch the most? Yep, you guessed it, your cell phone.
It is recommended to clean your smartphone at least once a day, or more often if you’ve been passing it around to your friends. It’s also essential to practice good general hygiene habits, such as not taking your phone into the bathroom (seriously, don’t do it) and washing hands frequently.
Tips for sanitizing your screen and plastic case:
1) Remove your phone case and power down your device.
2) Polish with a microfiber cloth.
3) Gentle use a Lysol disinfecting wipe, avoiding ports.
4) Let your phone air dry for a minimum of 5 minutes.
5) Wipe again with a clean microfiber cloth.
6) Repeat steps 2-5 to clean your phone case.
7) Reinsert your phone into its case.
Silicone Phone Cases
Silicone cases are durable and can stand up to being submerged in water. To clean your silicone phone case, mix a little dishwashing detergent with warm water and use a soft towel to clean the interior, exterior and any textured edges. Rinse the case thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before you put your phone back in it. In between cleanings, you can wipe the case down with a cleaning wipe or the alcohol-water solution mentioned above.
Luxury Phone Cases
If you have a case that is made with leather or another high-quality material, you’ll want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning. These materials may require cleaners that were formulated specifically for them.
Never spray anything directly onto the phone, and avoid over-saturating, as you don’t want your phone to become wet. Avoid any cleaners that advertise ‘scrubbing power’ or anything similarly abrasive. You also shouldn’t use the same astringent cleaners that you use to wipe down hard plastic and glass surfaces elsewhere in your home, like pure bleach, metal cleaners, or bathroom-specific cleansers. Using harsh cleaners can strip the protective coating and could leave your phone more vulnerable to scratches.
Paper towels may be the go-to for cleaning your desk, but keep them away from your phone. The paper can shred, making the debris on your phone much worse. Paper towels can even end up leaving scratches on your screen.
Don’t forget to clean your phone accessories. Your earbuds, charger and phone stand get a workout every day, so don’t leave them out of your phone cleaning routine. You can use a wipe or towel that’s been lightly misted with your alcohol-water solution to wipe them down. Just make sure they’re completely dry before you use them again.