How to Deep Clean a Germy Cell Phone (Without Destroying It)

You touch your phone constantly—here's how to keep it clean.

In gross and disturbing news, your cell phone is a breeding ground for germs. Think about it, it goes just about everywhere with you, which means there's plenty of opportunities for exposure to bacteria. In fact, a 2012 study by the University of Arizona concluded that your cell phone has more germs than a toilet seat. Bet you're rethinking holding it anywhere near your face! Before you freak out, here are some smart tips from Rob Duve, a Best Buy Geek Squad agent, on how to keep your phone clean.

Start With Good Hand Hygiene

"One of the first and best lines of defense is to practice good hand hygiene. Always wash your hands with soap and water, because anything that is on your hands will be transferred to your cell phone. Be cautious when using other people's devices, too," Duve advises. "If you do have to use someone else's phone, avoid holding it up to your face."'

Reconsider Where You Use Your Phone

You'll also want to be mindful of where you use your phone. Duve explained that more people than you think bring their cell phones into the bathroom (one study showed just how many), which exposes them to unnecessary amounts of germs.

Wipe Down the Surface

To keep your phone and other touchscreen devices clean, you'll want to regularly wipe them down. "Use your own judgment based on your environment, but even deciding to wipe them down once a day isn't too much," says Duve. "You'll also want to use a microfiber cloth, which is surface safe, instead of paper towels. If you have a spray cleaner, don't spray it directly on the screen. Spray it onto the cloth first, and then wipe down your phone." Because microfiber is able to remove bacteria from a surface, you can also play it safe by skipping the sprays altogether.

What You'll Need:

  • Fast-drying disinfecting wipes
  • 70 percent isopropyl alcohol (optional)
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Mild dish soap

How to Clean a Cell Phone

  1. First, unplug and turn off your phone. Gently wipe the outside of the phone and the screen with a fast-drying disinfecting wipe, or you can spray 70 percent isopropyl alcohol onto a clean cloth and then wipe your phone. Do not spray any cleaners directly onto the surface of the phone and avoid getting liquid in the charging ports.
  2. If you have a hard case on your phone, you can remove it and wash with mild dish soap and warm water. Then rinse and dry the case thoroughly. Let it air-dry completely before you put it back on your phone.
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