ICYDK, your phone is covered with germs. These products can help you clean it without damaging your device.
We have some bad news about your smartphone: It's disgusting.
"Cell phones are one of the dirtiest things we encounter daily," Charles Gerba, PhD, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona who is often referred to by his nickname, Dr. Germ, tells Health. Need proof? In 2017, researchers from his university 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.
"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," Gerba explains. 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—according to a 2015 survey by Deloitte, the average American checks her phone an amazing 47 times a day.
But the real 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," says Gerba. "We're in constant contact with them, and they spend a lot of time near our face and mouth."
Good thing it's easier than you think to quickly disinfect your device on the go. Gerba recommends cleaning 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.
Here, the best phone-cleaning products to keep on hand—and use often!—this cold and flu season.