The dirtiest object in your house

By: Health Local Staff Sep 17, 2012
  Article
germs on cell phone

Your innocent-seeming cellular phone might be harboring an abundance of nasty bacteria.

When most of us think of dirty objects in our homes, we think of the dirt that we can actually see. Our husbands’ toilets, the basement, the garage floor probably rank amongst the visibly dirtiest areas in your home. You might be surprised that there are sneaky little germs hanging out in the objects that you use every day.

Think about it: what do you use every day, all day, without ever cleaning? Your innocent-seeming cellular phone might be harboring an abundance of nasty bacteria. Some suggest that as many as one in six phones are carry some traces of fecal matter. Almost all phones contain some sort of harmful pathogen. Yuck. To disinfect your phone and protect yourself from whatever else your phone might harbor, try the following:

Disinfect Often
Weekly cleaning is recommended. If you are in the midst of cold and flu season, you might want to up this to every day. You are breathing germs onto your phone’s surface and touching the screen with dirty fingers constantly.

Use a soft cloth with a dab of isopropyl alcohol and wipe down the case and exterior of the phone. Do not douse the cloth in alcohol as you do not want any moisture getting into the hardware of the phone. Do not wipe the touchscreen with alcohol.

Alcohol, while many swear by to clean their touchscreens, is not recommended for use on Apple products (and the same could be said for smart phones). Alcohol diminishes the integrity of the coating on the screen. With degradation of the coating, the screen will be less resistant to oil. The screen may be more prone to scratching and abrasions with continued use.

There are products on the market (as approved by Apple) that are said to be safe to use on touchscreens. The Monster CleanTouch is made specifically for iPad and iPhone screens, but should also be safe for your smart phone. The CleanTouch contains an antimicrobial solution and cloth to prevent and control germs.

Preventative Measures
One of the safest ways to protect your phone is to invest in a screen protector. Simply remove the screen protector and clean it with a dry cloth with a dab of alcohol. If the screen protector becomes scratched, it is relatively easy and cheap to replace.

The best way to protect your phone is to keep your hands clean. Do you really need to be told that it’s not sanitary to text message your friend while sitting on the toilet? Keep your phone away from the bathroom and flushing toilets, where fecal matter inevitably lingers in the air post-flush. Wash your hands often.

Since there is no perfectly safe way to disinfect your cellular phone, the best method of keeping it germ-free is to use it with germ-free hands. Always use your phone with clean hands and clean its case regularly. If you notice you are starting to get pimples on your chin where your phone touches as you talk, it might be a good idea to invest in a screen protector or antimicrobial cleaning wipe.

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.