Keep your Smartphone Sanitary
Your smartphone: the one little buddy that always seems to come in handy – no pun intended. Whether you’re passing time while you’re in the bathroom, scrolling through your feed on the train to work, snapping a photo of your daughter at her first meet, or finding a dinner recipe, your phone is there to provide you with all the apps and information that you need to get the job done.
The problem with that is that in between finding itself atop the toilet paper dispenser when you’re finishing up with your bathroom ‘business’, falling on the floor, and coming into contact with your hands before you’ve had the chance to wash or sanitize them, your phone picks up a proverbial ton of bacteria.
With the coronavirus pandemic still very much a pressing issue, keeping your phone clean is of the utmost importance. Even when all of this pandemic pandemonium is over, taking the extra time to keep that little device free of germs should still be high up on your agenda.
Let’s look at the facts and stats.
A Breeding Ground for Germs
Due to the fact that our smartphones virtually never leave our sides, it’s no wonder that they’re teeming with germs. Think about it logically for a second. You wouldn’t grab one of your shoes and press the sole to the side of your face, would you? We didn’t think so. Your shoes have literally been all over town, picking up an innumerate number of pathogens, germs, or bacteria. Your phone falls on the ground and you don’t even bat an eyelid the next time you need to put that same grimy device against your ear and cheek. Yes, it might have only spent a moment on the floor, but think about all of the other surfaces that it comes into contact with.
More importantly, think about all of the surfaces that you touch on a daily basis before you touch your phone. You could be at the ATM, drawing money out when a text from your bank comes through. You’ve now touched the ATM keypad before touching your phone. You’ll most likely sanitize your hands or wash them thereafter, but the germs have now been passed over onto your smartphone.
Your smartphone also finds itself atop your desk for most of the day. Whether you work remotely or in-person only alters the germ count, but germs are prevalent on office furniture simply due to the amount of time that we spend working.
In 2005, Kathy Sitzman, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Weber State University, estimated that office desks carried a whopping 20,127 bacteria per square inch. (1) Fast forward to 2022 and the smartphone has overtaken that number, packing a colossal 25,100 bacteria per square inch. Here’s the kicker: your phone is more than 20 times larger than your smartphone, yet your smartphone carries more germs per square inch!
The reason why handwashing became of such importance during the pandemic is that most transmissible diseases are carried and transmitted by our hands. Our smartphones are hoarders of the germs we carry on our hands because they aren’t cleaned as often as our hands. For some of your reading this, you might be cringing because you’ve never bothered to at least wipe your screen down at all – save for when it becomes too dirty to see your icons clearly.
Even if you’re religious about washing your hands, if you aren’t cleaning your phone, you’re still coming into contact with the same germs you’ve washed off your hands – and you’re coming into contact with them via your phone.
On average, we check our phones every 10 minutes – 5 for those who work online or in a digital sphere. We use them as alarm clocks and for just about everything else in our lives. Teenagers have them under their desks at school, in their lockers, and in their duffel bags behind their sweaty PE clothes.
With our phones in our hands well over 70 times a day, it’s time to get serious about cleaning them!
Be sure to check with your device manufacturer for the appropriate materials to use to clean your smartphone. Thanks to the pandemic, most smartphone manufacturers have detailed lists of how to clean your phone. All you have to do is run a search for “How to clean [smartphone brand] without damaging it.”
Generally, a microfibre cloth and some warm water should do the trick. Just don’t run your phone under a faucet!
You can also opt for isopropyl rubbing alcohol and some cotton swabs to rid your phone of nasty germs. Be sure to check with your manufacturer if this will have any adverse effects on your phone. Also, be aware of the fact that alcohol degrades bonding elements like glue. So, if you have any fancy decorations on the back of your phone or a case that is bonded at the seams with some form of glue, keep the rubbing alcohol away from the joining areas of those elements.
If your phone isn’t water-resistant, Clorox and Lysol wipes might be an option for you. Again, check with your manufacturer. If all else fails, you can pick up a phone sanitizing booth for $45-$60 online.
Clean your phone often, especially when you’ve been touching other surfaces. Keep your hands clean and sanitize them before using your phone and you’ll be good to go!