Dirty Devices

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Gray smartphone

Your fingers touch it, you pass it to strangers, and you put it up against your ear. You carry it with you everywhere, including the dining table, bathroom, and all public spaces. So, it should come as no surprise that your smartphone is a bed for bacteria. How much exactly? In 2012, scientists at the University of Arizona predicted that a cell phone carries more than 10 times the number of bacteria than most toilet seats. Grossed out yet?

There’s a good chance you’re reading this very article on your smartphone. Where are you? Better question, when was the last time you cleaned your screen? The average number of times Americans check their smartphones varies from double digits to over 100, depending on which source you reference, so I won’t presume to give an exact tally. But no matter how you count it, the one thing that’s true is all of the dirt, germs, oils, and bacteria on your skin (and other surfaces) ends up on your smart device with every touch, swap, and placement. Then, that same bacteria end up on your face, which can cause breakouts (or worse) as it gets into your pores.

In keeping with the toilet reference, bathrooms are cleaned on a regular basis (one hopes) because it’s naturally associated with filth. And yet, that’s a single room. The surface of your phone goes everywhere, including the bathroom (don’t deny it). Logically speaking, if you wash your hands after using the restroom why wouldn’t you wipe off your phone? The same particles accumulate. Now I bet you’re grossed out.

Taking this concept into account, expand that thinking. How many times do you give your phone to someone else to touch, and vice versa? Where else have your fingers been between interactions (the ATM)? Where have other hands been? The reason behind your dirty device is more than your use but the transfer of all bacteria between people. It’s the same concept as with any sickness, except this potential sickness is on us at all times.

The best way to avoid spreading germs and accumulating unwanted particles on your electronic is easy — wash your hands frequently, avoid taking it into the bathroom, and wipe it down a few times a month. The safest way to clean your phone is with a dampened lens cloth but, depending on your device, it’s best to check with your manufacturer for their recommended cleaning method.

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