Wellness Matters

How Dirty is Your Device? 5 Steps to Clean Your Dirty Cellphone

August 22, 2016


Let’s face it. Our mobile phone goes with us almost everywhere. Many people feel helpless without it. We get directions, post selfies and communicate with each other with this little device. But have you ever thought about how dirty it is?

A few of the items cleaner than your phone would be the soles of your shoes, a pet’s food bowl and a public toilet. Studies have shown that 92 percent of mobile devices have harmful bacteria on them. 16 percent of these devices contain E.coli. In some tests, one in six phones had fecal matter on it. How does this happen? Here are some ways your phone can get so filthy:
  • Using it in the restroom – Gone are the days of reading a newspaper or magazine in the head. Now it’s digital content. Good for you for washing your hands when finished. Wouldn’t your phone carry the same germs?
  • Using it while on public transportation – After holding that handrail on the bus, are you using your phone to check in on social media? Who was holding that handrail before you? Before them?
  • Letting others use your phone – Has the generous stranger who offered to take a picture of you and your special someone washed their hands recently? How about that coworker with the sniffles who just looked at your photos from this past weekend?
  • Playing with pets – How cute is that stray dog you just gave a good belly rub? When was its last bath?
  • After a meal – Feel compelled to give the restaurant a great review on social media? Those food particles and oils from dinner are now on your phone growing bacteria. 


We cover our mouths when we sneeze, wash our hands after using the restroom and many people shed their shoes at the front door.  Why is it that one of the dirtiest things we possess gets overlooked so often? Here are five easy steps to remedy that.
  1. Power off your device.
  2. Remove your phone from the case or cover.
  3. Moisten a cotton cloth with isopropyl alcohol and wipe down your device and case.
  4. Moisten a cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol and make sure to get in the crevasses and around the “home” button.
  5. Make sure the device is completely dry before restoring power.


Because mobile devices are left powered on, they are an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria are easily transferred to your hands and are just a nose or eye rub away from making you ill. If that’s not enough, consider this: With most devices being touch screen, the area touched most by your hands is going to be against your face. Don’t you think it’s time to practice good hygiene and keep that cell phone clean?

About the Author

Joshua Dettinger, MD specializes in Family Medicine at Western Rockingham Family Medicine

1 comments:

  1. I clean it often and don't use it in the bathroom, at the table. I clean it after being at doctor's offices or the hospital, in crowded places or stores, and I make sure I clean my iPad, computer and home phone too.

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