Phones are germ hotspots
Get this: Your smartphone is dirtier than a toilet seat. Sure, many of the germs found on your phone could be harmless. But in a study published in 2023, researchers found that a whopping 92 per cent of phone carried illness-causing bacteria like strep and E. coli. If you’re anything like us, that fact alone makes a good case for learning how to clean your phone screen – and making it a regular part of your cleaning schedule.
If you want to be extra thorough at removing germs and bacteria from your smartphone, you’re in the right place. We asked microbiologist Dr Charles Gerba, and cleaning expert Jessica Ek to share the scoop on how to properly disinfect your iPhone or Android, which products you should use, how often you should clean your device and more.
So grab your phone and crank up the cleaning tunes because you’re about to perfect the art of removing germs and bacteria from your trusty device.
How to clean a phone screen at home
As a microbiologist, Gerba knows just how germy phones can be (read: very, very germy), so he recommends at least daily cleanings. Some experts even recommend cleaning it every time you return home. Luckily, the process is quick, and you can use a simple item you probably already have at home. Read on to find out how to clean your phone screen of bacteria and other germs.
Supplies you’ll need
Power down your smartphone.
Remove your phone’s case. Germs can get caught in the corners of the case, so it’s important to take it off when cleaning, says Ek.
If you have a screen protector that is pulling up on the sides or at the corners, remove it and throw it away. Bacteria can build up there too, according to Ek.
Gently wipe your screen with a microfibre cloth.
Don’t forget to clean the camera’s lenses and edges with a microfibre cloth. A sign yours needs cleaning? Your pictures will start to come out blurry.
How to disinfect a phone
The average smartphone screen carries more than 10,000 types of bacteria, so you may want to go beyond daily wipe-downs. The good news: You don’t need a fancy phone sanitiser to get the job done. When your phone needs more than a quick cleaning, it’s time to pull out the disinfectant.
Supplies you’ll need
Make sure your phone is turned off and the case is removed.
If you have a screen protector that is curling up on the sides or at the corners, remove it and throw it away.
With a cotton swab, scrub the grooves in your phone where grime might build up, such as the speaker grills, charging port, lock button and earpiece.
Gently wipe down your entire phone using a disinfectant wipe. (Keep scrolling for options that are safe to use on smartphones.)
If there are any streaks left on your phone, use a microfibre cloth to buff and polish.
Clean your phone case by running it under warm water or wiping it down with a disinfecting wipe. Leave the case and your phone in a clean area with plenty of airflow to dry.
When your phone is dry, place a new screen protector over the screen. Then put the case back on your phone.