Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you touch your phone throughout the day?
Between texting, talking on the phone, Snapchatting, Instagramming and Tindering, our phones spend an increasingly large portion of the day in one
very extremely dirty place: your hand.
Because as we use our phones frequently, you not only transfer bacteria you’ve picked up as you’ve gone about your day, but your phone remains warm, creating the ideal breeding ground for bacteria.
This can include bacteria you’ve intercepted from touching doorknobs, holding onto subway poles, or shaking hands with other people, yuck.
Not to mention any time you speak or cough with your phone near your mouth, your device will become covered in whatever happens to be living in your respiratory tract.
Even if you’re an incredibly hygienic individual, bacteria you’re constantly at risk of running into bacteria, because you really can’t trust how clean other people are.
“It is wise to periodically clean your phone,” says Philip Tierno, a microbiologist and pathologist at the New York University School of Medicine. “I [clean] mine at the end of each day with just a wipe.”
Tierno says studies have found a number of different types of bacteria and viruses on phones, but that it’s common to find bacteria that live on people’s skin, in their respiratory tract, and — shudder — even bacteria that lives in fecal matter.
And while most of this bacteria can’t actually make you sick, you could unknowingly cross paths with certain pathogens, such as the norovirus which can leave you miserable and vomiting, says Tierno.
But luckily you can combat those germs and keep your phone safe by cleaning it regularly. You can wipe your phone down with a microfiber cloth, or by using a tried-and-tested cleaner like iKlear, which will ensure you won’t damage your phone’s touchscreen.
Tierno says that in general, it’s okay if you miss a day of cleaning every so often, but, “if you’re not cleaning your phone, you should.”
And by now many of us have given up on our New Year’s resolutions, so why not start a new resolution and keep your smartphone nice and clean. Your health will thank you later.