Skip to main content

Don’t be gross – it’s time to deep-clean your technology

You’ve probably all heard the statement that your phone is dirtier than a toilet seat, but according to the Seattle Times, our phones are covered in germs: 25,127 bacteria per square inch, to be exact. This makes phones (and other often-used technology) some of the dirtiest objects you come in contact with.

Because they are a breeding ground for dirt, grease, and bacteria, making sure they are clean is a major priority. You touch them and touch your food, face, kids, and all sorts of other surfaces, contaminating them as you go about our day. Given the past year, keeping yourself healthy is a must. The good news is it’s pretty easy and inexpensive to clean your technology. As long as you are thorough and consistent, you can dramatically cut down on the amount of germs are on their surfaces.

person using iPhone

From the experts

There are simple ways to keep your tech clean and germ-free. Laptops and computers need to be cleaned a little differently than phones and Apple watches, but they don’t require buying all sorts of special items. According to Greg Steiner, the CEO of HelloTech, before you start on any device, make sure they are unplugged before you clean them. Keyboards can be cleaned by turning them upside down to shake any debris out, then using compressed air to blow out any dust. To get it sparkly clean, Steiner recommends using “cotton swabs to disinfect small spaces” and “washing all your keycaps with soap and water, or alcohol. You can also use a toothbrush to clean the keys,” he said.

Phones, iPads, and TVs can be cleaned first using a soft, dry microfiber cloth. Steiner cautions against using paper towels as, “These contain fibers that can leave scratches on your screen.” You can also dampen the cloth with a mix of 60% water and 40% isopropyl alcohol to sterilize your cell phone.

no chemicals

No chemicals required

Steiner advises against using abrasive cleaning products, like Windex or Clorox, which can “remove the protective oleophobic (oil-repellent) and hydrophobic (water-repellent) coatings right off the surface of your phone.” He also says not to put any liquid on the phone directly, but rather on the cloth and then your phone. “Never apply any kind of cleaning solution directly onto the screen,” he said. “This can cause moisture to get into the seal around the screen and damage the electronics.”

At-home phone disinfectants like the one you can make above are all you need to clean your devices effectively. If you want to get into the little holes and openings, just grab a clean toothbrush (or an electronic device brush) and gently brush the area to remove any debris.

man with cold

Staying healthy

A study by the University of Arizona found the typical worker’s desk, which is where your smartphone lives for about 40 hours a week, has hundreds of times more bacteria per square inch than an office toilet seat. “This lack of knowledge about where germs lurk is a real health problem because people touch these objects, and 80 percent of infections are spread through hand contact,” researchers said.

Other studies have found pathogens on smartphones such as Streptococcus, MRSA (a type of bacteria that is resistant to several antibiotics), and even E. coli. This is important to understand as it can be a major blow to our overall health, immune system, and ability to fight off certain diseases.  It’s not just something to be diligent about because of COVID; it is critical all the time. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 80 percent of all infections are transmitted by hands, and your device is always in your hands.

It doesn’t take much time or effort to keep your technology clean. Not only will it keep you healthy, you’ll keep harmful germs and bacteria at bay after touching your phone and then touching surfaces your family also uses on the regular. As more and more technology emerges in your everyday life, It’s important to remember to clean them the same way you clean your home, hands, and your clothing.

Americans check their phone once every 12 minutes in average — that’s 80 times a day, according to global tech protection company Asurion. That’s a whole lot of opportunity for germs to infiltrate your life!

Editors' Recommendations