Did you know 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 grab your dirty phone. It’s time to do something about that.
Just how dirty is your phone? According to research from the University of Arizona, phones are ten times dirtier than most toilet seats. That’s pretty disgusting when you consider you would never put your face on a toilet seat.
It makes sense when you stop and think about it. Your phone is exposed to all of the same things you touch, yet most people don’t wash their phones when they wash their hands. Not to mention all the bathroom phone usage. It all builds up over time and gets more filthy.
Can I Wash My Phone?
Alright, so your phone is filthy, now what? You may wonder if you can simply wash it when you wash your hands. That depends on which phone you have.
Many modern smartphones are marketed as having “water resistance.” Notice they’re not saying “waterproof.” Nothing is truly “waterproof.” There are different levels of how much water a device can handle before breaking.
If your smartphone can handle 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 is “immersion up to 1 meter.”
Check the manufacturer’s website to see if your phone has an IP rating. If it has a rating of IP67 or IP68, you can certainly run some soapy water over it for quick cleaning. There’s no need to fully submerge it.
What About Cleaning Wipes?
Wipes and cleaning solutions containing alcohol are commonly used to clean surfaces. Naturally, you may reach for these to clean your phone. Are they safe to use? Can the alcohol damage the device?
Apple and Samsung both recommend using a 70% isopropyl alcohol cleaning solution to clean their devices. The concern people have with alcohol-based cleaners is ruining the oleophobic coating on the display.
Oleophobic coatings wear off with regular use, but obsessively cleaning the display with cleaners containing alcohol can speed up this process. That’s only if you are obsessively using them, though. Wiping down the display once a week or so isn’t going to make a huge difference.
Beyond the display, 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 certain plastics in ways you might not like as well. 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 doesn’t require liquids or wipes at all. Certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light (the type of light from the sun) can kill and limit the growth of microorganisms. So should you just put your phone in the sun for a while? Not exactly.
There’s an entire market of UV Light sanitizers. These products often look like mini tanning booths. The idea is you put your phone inside, turn on the UV light, and let it bathe in the light for several minutes to kill all the germs.
The downside to these products is they’re on the pricy side. You can easily pay around $100 for a UV Light cleaner that fits a smartphone. There are other options that are a little more affordable. When your phone is in the cleaner, it can’t be used, which can be a little annoying too.
In the long term, UV light is probably not as harsh on your phone as water and cleaning solutions. It’s all about what’s more convenient for you.
Whichever cleaning method you choose, the important thing is to actually choose one. Most people don’t even think about cleaning their smartphones. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android device, it needs to be cleaned semi-regularly. Your hands pick up germs from things you touch, and you probably don’t touch many things as often as your phone.