Did you know that your iPhone or Android phone is one of the dirtiest things you touch every day? You probably wash your hands after touching something dirty, but then pick up your dirty phone. It’s time to do something about it.
How dirty is your phone? According to a University of Arizona study, phones are ten times dirtier than most toilet seats. It’s pretty disgusting considering you would never lay your face on a toilet seat.
It makes sense when you stop and think about it. Your phone is exposed to all the same things you touch, but most people don’t wash their phones when they wash their hands. Not to mention all the use of the bathroom phone. Everything builds up over time and gets dirtier.
Can I wash my phone?
Alright, your phone’s dirty, now what? You may wonder if you can just wash it off when you wash your hands. It depends on the phone you have.
Many modern smartphones are marketed as having “water resistance”. Notice they don’t say “waterproof”. Nothing is really “watertight”. There are different levels of how much water a device can handle before breaking.
If your smartphone can withstand water, it probably has an IP rating such as “IP68” or “IP67”. The second number is what determines the water resistance. Eight means “immersion beyond 1 meter, seven means “immersion until 1 meter.
Check the manufacturer’s website to see if your phone has an IP rating. If it has an IP67 or IP68 rating, you can definitely run soapy water over it for a quick clean. It is not necessary to submerge it completely.
RELATED: How do water resistance ratings for gadgets work?
What about cleaning wipes?
Wipes and cleaning solutions containing alcohol are commonly used to clean surfaces. Naturally, you can use them to clean your phone. Are they safe to use? Can alcohol damage the device?
Both Apple and Samsung recommend using a 70% isopropyl alcohol cleaning solution to clean their devices. People’s concern with alcohol-based cleaners is ruining the screen’s oleophobic coating.
Oleophobic coatings wear off with regular use, but obsessively cleaning the screen with alcohol-containing cleaners can speed up this process. That’s only if you use them obsessively, though. Wiping the screen once a week or so won’t make a big difference.
Beyond the screen, the other parts of the phone should be fine. Again, you’ll want to make sure the device has some water resistance. Alcohol can interact with some plastics in ways you may not like either. It’s always a good idea to do a little test before wiping the entire device from top to bottom.
clean with light
Another option requires no liquids or wipes at all. Certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light (the type of sunlight) can kill and limit the growth of microorganisms. So should you just expose your phone to the sun for a while? Not exactly.
There is a whole market for UV Light sanitizers. These products often look like mini tanning booths. The idea is to put your phone inside, turn on the UV light, and let it bathe in light for several minutes to kill any germs.
The disadvantage of these products is that they are rather expensive. You can easily pay around $100 for a UV light cleaner that fits a smartphone. There are other slightly more affordable options. When your phone is in the cleaner, it cannot be used, which can also be a bit annoying.
In the long run, UV light probably isn’t as harsh on your phone as water and cleaning solutions. It’s about what’s most convenient for you.
Whichever cleaning method you choose, the important thing is to choose one. Most people don’t even think about cleaning their smartphones. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android device, it should be cleaned semi-regularly. Your hands pick up germs from the things you touch, and you probably don’t touch many things as often as your phone.