woman looking at her iPhone in the living room

By Gary Fitzgerald

You carry it everywhere you go – sometimes even the bathroom. You check it on average once every 12 minutes. It touches your hands, face and ears. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s teeming with germs.

Yep, it’s your cellphone. It likely carries around 20,000 germs per square inch.

Turns out most germs on your cellphone are not that dangerous.

You can expose yourself to harmful germs when you pick them up on your hands and transfer them to your cellphone surface. Or you may expose yourself to a virus (COVID-19 or the flu) or bacteria when using someone else’s cellphone or sharing your own.

Researchers have found cellphones can collect viruses and bacteria – influenza, pneumonia, streptococcus, Staphylococcus aureas, E.coli and even mold – that can cause respiratory infections and worsen health conditions including asthma and allergies.

The best defense? Wash your hands often, of course. And avoid sharing cellphones.

You will also want to clean your cellphone so it’s not a breeding ground for germs. Spraying or wiping the cellphone screen or case with water won’t kill viruses or bacteria and it might harm electronic circuitry inside the device.

First, check your cellphone product manual to see what the manufacturer recommends for cleaning your device. Here are some general cleaning tips:

  • Use antibacterial wipes made specifically for electronics. Purchase these online, at an electronics store or a department store.
  • Dip a soft microfiber cloth in a combination of 60% water and 40% rubbing alcohol and then gently wipe it across your device.
  • When cleaning, pay particular attention to the “home” button – likely the most germy part of your cellphone.
  • Set up a reminder on a calendar app so you remember to clean your cellphone daily.