How to safely sanitize your phone and keep it germ-free

Let’s face it: Our phones are filthy. We touch contaminated surfaces then touch our devices. We speak right into our phones, transferring germs from our mouth. We have our phones when we eat and — let’s be honest — when we use the restroom.

Now that we’re heading back out into the world, we could be contaminating our phones even more on public transportation, at restaurants and in other public settings. 

Bacteria and viruses can live on certain surfaces from a few hours to days, so we should regularly disinfect our phones to prevent the spread of transmissible diseases. Here are a few simple tips to keep your phone germ-free.

Studies show that our phones carry around 17,000 bacteria per square inch — 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat — and we touch our phones roughly 2,617 times a day. For heavy phone users, that number jumps to 5,427 times. 

In addition to washing your hands regularly and avoiding touching your face to reduce germ transmission, we recommend these steps to clean your cell phone and other devices:

  1. Unplug and power down your device.
  2. Remove your phone case, if you have one. If your case is waterproof, wash it thoroughly with soap and water, and let it dry completely.
  3. Use a good, lint-free microfiber or lens cleaning cloth to remove oil and fingerprints.
  4. Don’t spray any disinfecting liquids directly on your device, as they may damage your device or its coating.
  5. Gently use a Clorox Disinfecting Wipe or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe to disinfect your phone. You can also spray a 70% alcohol solution on your cloth, but not directly on your device. Do not use bleach and don’t submerge your phone in liquids. (Read more from Apple.)
  6. Samsung recommends using a “hypochlorous acid-based solution (containing 50-80ppm) or an alcohol-based solution (containing more than 70% ethanol or isopropyl alcohol)” gently applied to your device using a microfiber cloth.
  7. Allow your device to air dry for five minutes.
  8. Alternatively, you can purchase a UV-C sterilization device which works by shining a type of ultraviolet light that can destroy the genetic material of viruses and bacteria.