Essential Tips to Keep Your Cell Phone Clean

Tricks for a Germ-Free Cell Phone

Personal perspective photo of woman while wiping her phone with alcohol wet wipe
recep-bg / Getty Images

How often do you clean your cell phone? If you're like most people, you probably rarely think about it. That's something you need to change.

It is true to say that the cell phone has revolutionized the way the world communicates. However, you should be aware that it has also revolutionized the spread of germs and disease. Armed with this information, you may prevent yourself and someone else from spreading harmful bacteria and viral illnesses.


Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of environmental biology at the University of Arizona, has conducted numerous germ studies in pursuit of greater information on the spread of disease through cell phones. He has determined that cell phones are among the dirtiest surfaces we touch everyday, even dirtier than a toilet seat.

Keep it to Yourself

Wise people should take pains to protect themselves and others from the spread of harmful germs. This is easy to do and simply requires responsible use. In short, you should not borrow another person's cell phone and neither should you allow anyone to use yours without cleaning it first.

Although we may not think about it much, cell phones are actually quite personal. The phone is in constant contact with your hands, face and mouth which are all highly susceptible to the transmission of germs. In addition, when your phone is not in use, it is generally stored somewhere closed and warm like a pocket or a purse. Because of the warmth and potential moisture, these are both great breeding areas for any germs and bacteria that has found its way to your phone.

Tips to Maintain a Germ-Free Cell Phone

In order to prevent the spread of germs via your cell phone, follow these guidelines:

  • Wash your hands frequently. It is a great idea to make a habit of periodically washing your hands. The hands touch so much throughout the day and pick up so many germs. Keeping clean hands, washed with hot soapy water, is a great first step to maintaining your cell phone's cleanliness.
  • Keep your phone clean. There are products on the market for cleaning your phone, but all you really need is a good old fashioned alcohol wipe. Use one periodically throughout the day to kill germs. This really works.
  • Regard your phone as a personal item. Sure, your children and spouse will play on your phone, especially if it is a smartphone/android type. But, besides them you should really keep it to yourself. It may seem difficult to tell someone "No" if you are asked to use your phone. Keep in mind that your phone is personal. You keep it in your purse or pocket, you put it to your face throughout the day and you carry it into your home. With that in mind, hopefully you can find a way to let the person know that you are not comfortable with him or her using your cell. Perhaps you can even just let them know that this is a predetermined policy you have and that you never allow others to use your cell phone. Think of it as a comb or tooth brush, both items you wouldn't even think about letting others use.
  • In case of an emergency, be a good neighborThe advice to not share your phone is intended to speak to everyday situations and circumstances. In the case of an emergency you may want to consider either dialing for the other person, allowing them to use your phone with headphones or the speaker, or just allowing them to use the phone themselves. Remember, if you can keep your phone sanitized, this won't be a major deal, and you should be perfectly fine. Rise to the occasion and be there when you are needed.
  • Don't handle your cell phone at the table. Wash your hands before you eat and don't pick up your device until you are finished with your meal. Not only is it rude to use your phone at the table it's unsanitary.

Other Things to Consider

In addition to keeping your phone clean, you should use it responsibly. That means you should avoid using it when you drive and any time you are in a place where it can be disruptive. That includes places like a movie theater, classroom, lecture, and worship service.

Edited by Debby Mayne

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Why your cellphone has more germs than a toilet. The University of Arizona

  2. Koscova, Jana, et al. Degree of Bacterial Contamination of Mobile Phone and Computer Keyboard Surfaces and Efficacy of Disinfection with Chlorhexidine Digluconate and Triclosan to Its Reduction. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 15, no. 10, 2018, p. 2238., doi:10.3390/ijerph15102238