Your Phone Is Gross — Here’s How You Can Fix It

As your calendar, alarm clock, and entertainment system, your iPhone is so much more than just a way to make calls. It’s an extension of yourself, which is why you bring it with you everywhere you go. No location is off limits. Whether it’s the bathroom, a subway station, or a walk-in clinic, it’s a friend at your side constantly keeping you company.

Though it can be a familiar face in an unfamiliar place, it’s time to add “germ magnet” to its list of roles. The latest research reveals smartphones carry a lot more bacteria than people realize, and your iPhone could make you sick!

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Their itinerant lifestyle is to blame.

Unlike an old-fashioned rotary phone, drilled into the wall, your iPhone goes anywhere you do. You’ll find yourself using your phone in situations or locations that aren’t exactly sterile, like a crowded bus. Let’s say you deposit your fare, brush a discarded newspaper off your seat, then press the button to request a stop. That’s three surfaces that an unknown number of people have used before you. They may be contaminated with bacteria that you then move to your phone by checking your texts during your commute.

Just how dirty is it?

The jury is still out on one unanimous answer to this important question. One study from 2017 tested high school student’s mobile phones for microbes and found the average device had more than 17,000 bacterial gene copies present. Research dating back to 2012 had even more harrowing results. The scientists behind this study found that phones have 10 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat.

Don’t panic!

Not all germs are bad. Your hands are naturally covered in microbes, most of which won’t impact your health negatively. It’s when you come into contact with surfaces other people have touched that you should be cautious, especially when these people are sick. People spread viruses by coughing or sneezing into their hands before touching a doorknob or subway pole.

How do you protect yourself? It’s a three-step process

Step One: Be cautious of how and where you use your phone

If you bring your phone into the bathroom, it’s time you change up your routine. As one of the dirtiest places you can use your phone, it should never follow you into a stall.

Once you banish your iPhone from your lavatorial routine, identify other high-risk locations where your hands are most likely to come into contact with bacteria. Avoid touching surfaces on public transit right before using your phone.

Step Two: Invest in a grime-resistant iPhone skin

After location, your phone’s surface is the next biggest culprit when it comes to bacteria. The iPhone X acts like a magnet when it comes to fingerprints and other deposits. While it doesn’t necessarily increase the bacteria on your phone, it certainly makes them more noticeable.

You can find grime-resistant iPhone skins from decal designers like dbrand. They use 3M vinyl in all their tailormade iPhone decals. This material affords them better precision in all their designs, and it gives you a waterproof material that’s grime-resistant. That makes it a lot easier to clean, regardless of the texture or color you choose. Some of thenew skins for your iPhone Xinclude black camo, red dragon skin, and marble, but there are a ton more designs to choose from.

Step Three: Make cleaning your phone a habit

The most important step to preventing your phone from getting you sick is cleaning it regularly. Only by ridding it of the bacteria it has collected will you be safe.

There are some cleaning kits available to order online, from elaborate gadgets that kill bacteria with UV-C rays to more modest anti-bacterial wipes designed for smartphones. Homemade cleaners made from water and rubbing alcohol work just as well as these store-bought solutions. Make sure the ratio of water to alcoholis 3:2, then pour these liquids into an empty spray bottle and mist your iPhone a few times a month. Wipe it off using a microfiber cloth to make sure you don’t damage the touchscreen.

It’s official: your phone is gross. After a long day trailing you wherever you go, it can pick up dangerous bacteria. Luckily, you can prevent them from interfering with your health when you use your iPhone wisely. And don’t forget—in between cleaning your phone, remember to wash your hands! Together, these steps will keep the grossness to a minimum.

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