If you’re like most Americans, your cell phone is your constant companion. You use it while lounging on the couch, at the office, maybe even stopped at red lights and yes, even in the bathroom (c’mon, we all do it!).

According to a University of Arizona study, all that action means your smartphone has hundreds of times more bacteria per square inch than that toilet seat you’ve been sitting on—and why it’s imperative you should know how to clean your smartphone.

So why exactly are our phones such a cesspool for germs and bacteria? Modern society has us touching everything: doorknobs, light switches, self-checkout machines and ATMs—not to mention changing dirty diapers and the general shenanigans that motherhood has us handling. Every time you come into contact with an unclean item and then going back to answer that text, you’re transferring germs right onto your phone and then back to your hands, face and ears. Can you say gross!?

A 2011 study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found that fecal matter can be found on 1 out of every 6 smartphones and even more studies have found that MRSA, E. coli and Streptococcus––serious pathogens––have also been linked to cell phones. Okay, so now that we’ve established how nasty our smartphones really are, here’s how you should clean yours.

photo: Aniket Bhattacharya via Unsplash

First, you’ll want to check your phone manufacturer because each maker has different recommendations when it comes to cleaning and coming into contact with moisture. You can find some suggestions for AppleMotorola and the Google Pixel by visiting their websites.

Then, keep this list of the following products on hand to keep your smartphone germ-free:

  1. Microfiber cloth
  2. Isopropyl rubbing alcohol
  3. Water
  4. Cotton rounds
  5. Cleaning gloves

If you have a waterproof or water-resistant phone, you can make your own cleaning solution with rubbing alcohol and distilled water inside a spray bottle. While wearing gloves or using just-washed hands, lightly spray the outside of your phone, wipe with a cotton round and allow to dry.

For non-waterproof phones, you can use disinfecting wipes and carefully use them to wipe down both the screen and back of your phone.

When it comes to how many times per day you should be cleaning your phone, we’ll leave that up to you. After all, only you know how many trips to the ATM (and the restroom) you’re making on the daily.



Bacteria Can Hide in Breast Pumps, Researchers Warn. Here’s How to Clean Yours

If You’re Not Cleaning Your Travel Mug Lids, You Should Really Start

How to Clean Your Kid’s Backpack (Because, Ew!)

Your daily dose of joy and connection
Get the Tinybeans app