ICK Alert: How Often Should You Clean Your Phone?
Germs that can sicken you are everywhere. And because many of us touch our phones while we eat meals, extra caution is warranted when it comes to these devices.
Illness-causing germs—including the types that cause food poisoning, common colds and other infections—can only make you sick if they enter your body. They tend to do that by clinging to your hands and then sloughing off onto the foods you put in your mouth, but they can also gain access to your system if you touch your ears, nostrils or breaks in your skin, such as cuts and scrapes. Your phone, too, is a “vehicle that can effectively transfer infectious organisms."
An expert explains, “The more people touch a surface, the greater the risk of contamination and sickness if you touch that surface too." (Grab a greasy subway pole and then handle your phone, and your device is going to be smeared with whatever germs your hands just picked up from previous passengers.)
So how often should you be cleaning your phone?
That depends on where you’ve been and how you handle your device. If you never use your phone while eating, you don’t have to be as diligent about cleaning your device.
But if you tend to use your phone all the time—including during meals—a daily cleanse with a disinfectant wipe is a good idea. ...Twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening" is a good rule to follow.
Regularly cleanings may be especially beneficial if you use a rubber phone cover; bacteria tend to more easily cling to that material than to your phone’s metal, glass or hard plastic components. Also, the raised edges where your phone and protective case come together can trap bacteria more effectively than a phone’s smoother surfaces, so those crannies warrant extra attention when you disinfect.
If you’re worried about hurting your device, Apple and other manufacturers recommend turning off your phone before cleaning, and avoiding getting liquid into the device’s charging port or other openings. Also, don’t spray disinfectant directly onto the device. Instead, spritz it onto a clean cloth or paper towel, or use a pre-treated disinfectant wipe.