Never have people been more aware of the germs potentially hiding on every surface, especially on their phones. Even before the COVID-19 crisis made germaphobes of all of us, our smartphones were filthy bacteria breeding grounds.
Think of all the surfaces our hands touch every day. We smear everything we touch on the screens of our phones. Considering the warmth generated by our phones and the warmth of our bodies while our phones rest in our pockets, we have near-perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and breed. Numerous studies have even found that the average phone is even dirtier than the average toilet seat—and you talk to your mother with that device!
Apple’s Advice to Sanitize Your Phone
For years Apple warned us against using disinfectant wipes on our iPhones. This warning was out of fear that disinfectant wipes could damage the phone’s oleophobic (oil-repellant) and hydrophobic (water-repellent) coatings. And, considering that new iPhones retail for about $1,000, most of us complied.
With everyone now looking for ways to limit their exposure to germs, Apple has backed off their earlier warnings and now says it’s safe to use disinfectant wipes to sanitize your phone—but says we still shouldn’t use aerosol sprays, bleaches, or anything abrasive.
Apple’s new language doesn’t mention COVID-19 specifically, but it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time, especially considering that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using cleaning spray or wipes to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects prevent the spread of disease.
There are a few other steps you can take to keep that device that keeps you socially connected and entertained—from making you sick from coronavirus or other ailments and bacteria, including E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus.
1. Don’t text from the toilet.
If you want to keep your phone clean, don’t take it into the bathroom with you. Ever. Approximately 75 percent of Americans say they use their phones while sitting on the toilet. Whether you wash your hands while singing the Alphabet song or not, bathrooms are a favorite place for germs. And, if your phone is in the bathroom, it’s picking them up there.
2. Invest in a UV phone sanitizer.
Some models can even charge your phone while you’re sanitizing it, and can also clean credit cards, keys, and other small items. UV light sanitizer manufacturers claim their devices can kill 99.9% of germs, in about 10 minutes.
3. Make your own cleaning solution.
Though Apple specifically says disinfectant wipes are okay to use, that doesn’t mean you can only use those—great news, since many stores are sold of them, anyway. You can make your own solution using a 1:1 ratio of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water, solution, a mixture recipe according to this article by the New York Times. Simply fill a spray bottle with the mixture then wet a microfiber cloth.
Following these steps and cleaning your screen won’t make your phone a germ-free environment all the time, but it will limit the number of bacteria living and growing on your phone. And with all that’s happening now, you can’t be too careful, so sanitize your phone.