How filthy is your smartphone?

Put it this way; in a test of eight random cellphones conducted by the Wall Street Journal, “...all phones showed abnormally high numbers of coliforms, a bacteria indicating fecal contamination”.

That’s fancy talk for poo!

The article also stated that of the eight phones tested, "there were between about 2,700 and 4,200 units of coliform bacteria.

In drinking water, the limit is less than 1 unit per 100 ml of water.”

Gross right?


Let’s talk about how to clean your cell phone or tablet and how we can keep germs off in the first place.

Because coliform and crap should never be part of a smartphone feature set.

1. Keep The Germs Off

The simplest way to clean your phone clean is to keep the germs off in the first place.

Wash Your Hands
Wash your hands often. Our phones are an added appendage, and whatever we touch will be transferred to them. Frequent hand washing helps reduce contact with germs and bacteria.

Use A Removeable Case
Protect your phone or tablet with a quality case that is specifically designed to withstand everyday knocks and drops, and is water resistant. Otterbox and Trident are just two of several good brands to consider.

Apply A Screen Protector
Screen protectors add an effective layer of protection to your phone’s display, especially when it comes to preventing scratches. iShieldz and Bodyguardz are two well known brands but there are many others.

2. Wipe It Regularly With a Microfiber Cloth

For casual, exterior cleaning, a microfiber cloth is all you need.

Most smartphone and tablet displays now have an oleophobic coating, which helps repel oil-based smudges, fingerprints, etc.

To use, turn off your device and wipe it's display, exterior buttons and outer casing with a microfiber cloth gently and in a circular motion.

For stubborn marks, dab the cloth with a small amount of distilled water and repeat.

Really dirty?

If you feel it is absolutely necessary to do a deeper cleaning, you can use a solution consisting of 40% ethyl or isopropyl alcohol and 60% distilled water. 

While manufacturers don't recommend using any kind of chemicals on their devices, a cursory search of the internet yields considerable anecdotal evidence that, used sparingly and carefully, ethyl or isopropyl alcohol will not cause damage.

Spray a small amount of the cleaning solution onto your microfiber cloth and apply gentle pressure to your phone’s screen in a circular motion.

If you have a removable battery, remove the battery cover and battery.

Using a cotton swab, dampened with the cleaning solution, dab the contacts of both the battery and the contacts of the phone’s battery cradle.

Do the same for your phone’s exterior ports as well, i.e. 3.5mm jack, USB port, etc. Wait a few minutes and replace the battery and cover. 

Warning: Never spray liquids of any kind directly on your phone and be very careful. You run the risk of voiding your phone’s warranty, damaging your phone, or both!

3. Buy Special Wipes For Electronics

Single-use lens wipes are another, affordable way to clean your phone or tablet.

Zeiss makes single use wipes that are safe for all exterior parts of your phone.

Wireless Wipes are yet another option. They are pre-moistened, single-use towelettes that are safe for your phone’s screen, are antibacterial and also disinfect.

There are many similar products available, offering slight variations in formulation and scent.

A quick internet search will also get you a range in pricing too.

4. Use a UV Accessory To Kill All Germs Dead

You can also use UV light to kill the germs and bacteria on your gadgets.

The Phonesoap Charger is an innovative product that both charges your phone and uses UV-C light to kill all germs and bacteria. Phonesoap retails for $52.99.

If you combine Phonesoap with a microfiber cloth you’ve got all bases covered.

Final Thought

You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money to keep your phone clean.

While the products mentioned above are effective and worth considering, frequent hand-washing and common sense will take you a long way in keeping germs and bacteria at bay.

Let us know what you think. We always invite reader feedback! Good luck!