Help protect your Phone from CoronaVirus and other nasty germs

By James Robertson – 13.07.2022 at 18:55


dirty-mobile-phone-covered-in-bacteria

 

You can’t escape the coronavirus news, it’s everywhere you look. We all know that washing your hands and the surfaces we touch help in the fight to prevent the virus from spreading. 

It’s no surprise that one of the most likely surfaces to contain nasty bacteria and bugs would be your mobile phone. Not only do we use our phones multiple times a day, but it’s also constantly in our hands or pressed up against our faces. Even without outbreaks of new viruses, keeping your phone clean should be a task we undertake regularly. 

We use our phones on average 80 separate times in a single day, so basically none stop. We operate them using our hands that come into contact with up to 10 million bacteria from touching everyday objects like door handles, handrails and light switches.

Approximately 7,000 types of bacteria were discovered in 51 smartphone samples

Your phone is the perfect breeding ground for germs both good and bad. Aside from being used so frequently throughout the day, the devices themselves also get warm from the internal components drawing power from the battery. Unfortunately for us, warm environments are where bacteria thrive, and with the heat produced from your hand can lead to creating the perfect object and temperatures for the little critters to multiply. 

Mobile phones hold more bacteria than your poop! 

In fact, on average our precious devices are up to ten times dirtier than the average toilet seat, something I assume none of us would like pressing our faces against. Our phones have been found to carry more disease-causing microbes than faecal matter and are the perfect hotbed for breeding germs. 

Taking the above into consideration, it’s easy to see why diseases and illnesses can spread through surfaces on your phone. Here are some of the most common ones that are found, 

16% of phones show traces of E. coli

E. coli does not survive in the air, but on surfaces like tables, counters or mobile phones. It’s not spread by coughing, kissing or normal, everyday interactions. Poor hand washing is one of the main factors that lead to the spread of this illness.

Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium that lives on the skin or in the nose. It is also called golden staph. Thankfully in most circumstances, S. aureus is harmless. However, if it enters the body through a cut in the skin, it can cause a range of mild to severe infections, which may cause death in some cases.

Influenza can survive on your Phone for up to 24 hours

Nobody wants to catch the flu, but this virus can find its way to you via a mobile device. If you don’t want to be ill in bed for a week or more, best get that phone cleaned up regularly.

Clostridium difficile

This bacteria can cause unfortunate bouts of diarrhea. Let’s just leave it at that.

Streptococcus

The source of strep throat, an illness more common in children, streptococcus bacteria can also cause scarlet fever, impetigo, toxic shock syndrome, or necrotising fasciitis (a flesh-eating disease).

dirty phone being held under a uv light

 

How dirty is your Phone compared to other objects you interact with? 

In case you’re still not convinced that your mobile phone is a handheld cesspool, consider the following:

The typical mobile phone is carrying over 25,000 bacteria per square inch. This is dirtier than a kitchen counter (showing 1,736 bacteria per square inch), your dog’s food fish (2,110 bacteria per square inch), and even the common doorknob (8,643 bacteria per square inch). And of course, the most shocking of the facts: your phone is dirtier than a toilet seat.

This is what’s hidden on the typical mobile phone.

Don’t let other people use your phone

On Average 95% of people do not wash their hands properly

Bacteria and viruses are both spread by contact with others, and the presence of these microbes on your phone is a key way to facilitate that contact. One piece of good news is that you are likely resistant to much of the germs currently populating the surface of your phone. This means that if you are the only person using your phone, you’ll likely avoid contamination. However, if you share your phone frequently with others, the chances of acquiring more viruses and bacteria on that phone are higher. To stay your safest, try to avoid sharing your phone with other individuals. While this might be a tough rule to stick to 100% of the time, you’ll have a cleaner phone if you keep your device to yourself.

Avoid using your phone in environments prone to bacteria growth 

It’s shocking how many of us admit to using our phones while visiting the toilet. It seems these mobile devices are so addicting we can barely put them down! Sadly, the bathroom is a highly unclean environment and might be responsible for most of the gross bacteria that end up on our phones. Experts say that stopping the practice of carrying your phone along to the toilet with you is key for minimising germs. When you need to use the toilet, simply leave your phone at your desk, or at least put it in your pocket or handbag. It will be there when you return, clean (or at least cleaner) and ready to be used.

The gym is another place where many of us enjoy using our mobile phones. But these spots are rampant with bacterial growth. The typical gym sees perhaps hundreds of members visiting daily, each of whom is using the machines, free weights, and other equipment, perspiring all the while. Want to get your gym on? Leave the phone at home. If you’re insistent on bringing your device to the gym (for listening to music or recording workout stats, for instance) be sure to wipe it down thoroughly after your session.

Avoid using your phone when eating 

If you’re wanting to transmit fewer bacteria to your mobile phone, it’s a good idea to put the device aside during mealtimes. Your mouth is one of the leading ways you can catch a germ, so keeping your dirty phone away while you’re eating is a smart habit.

Always wash your hand thoroughly 

The truth is, most of the germs that end up on your phone come from the surfaces it touches as well as your hands. Keeping those hands as clean as possible is the first line of defence for your mobile phone. Wash your hands often throughout the day, and always after using the toilet and before and after eating. Take time to learn how to wash your hands thoroughly and correctly. Far too many people rush through the hand-washing process or miss crucial steps altogether. Hand Hygiene Australia has valuable info here.

Clean your phone multiple times per day

Be sure to wipe and clean your device regularly. Experts suggest that once every couple of weeks should be sufficient, but if you’re in particularly germ-heavy environments (or if you can’t seem to break that ‘bringing the phone to the toilet’ habit) you may want to consider cleaning it more frequently. Read on for the best methods of cleaning your mobile phone.

Devices go with us everywhere. Are there certain places they shouldn’t go?

How to sanitise your phone without causing damage

Water and electronics are not compatible so be very careful when cleaning your phone. 

Isopropyl Alcohol 

You should wipe down your phone using a lint-free or microfibre cloth. This will prevent any scratches or other damage to the phone’s surface. Don’t use antibacterial wipes or regular disinfectants, however, as these are abrasive and can harm your device.

Microfibre

You can use the microfiber cloth to wipe away dirt and germs without using a liquid, but when you’re ready to disinfect, use a diluted alcohol mixture.* In a spray bottle, combine 60% water (ideally distilled water) and 40% isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Lightly spray your cloth and gently wipe down your device, removing any excess moisture when finished.

To access the creases and small openings on the phone, such as the headphone jack, you can use a dry cotton swab and carefully remove any dirt and grime.

Voila! Your phone is clean and ready for use. With frequent cleanings, you can feel a bit better about what’s on your phone’s surface.

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