One Item You’re Probably not Cleaning (but Should)

cell phone

What’s the one thing you carry with you everywhere and use every single day (without a second thought) that may be harmful to your health?

Give up? Your cellphone.

It’s true. Your cellphone is a cesspool of bacteria, potentially harboring up to 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat! It makes complete sense. The Journal of Applied Microbiology found that 20-30% of viruses can be transferred from a fingertip to a glass surface, such as a cell phone touchscreen.

Touching a contaminated surface, like a first floor elevator button, then grabbing your phone to send a text, increases the chance of your phone becoming a new home for a family of germs.

Viruses like Staph, E. coli, influenza, and MRSA have been found on cell phones, and because your phone is so close to your nose and mouth, there may be a greater risk of infection.

So, when was the last time you cleaned your cell phone? We’ve dialed up 5 gross ways your cell phone can get your sick, plus 3 bonus cleaning tips to help keep your phone germ-free.

  1. Bathroom Breaks

Do you take your cell phone in the bathroom with you? Many people admit to using their phone while using the facilities.  A study in London found that 1 in 6 cell phones tested positive for fecal matter. Researchers swabbed 390 hands and 390 cell phones for their study. Overall results showed some bacterial contamination on 92% of the phones and 82% of the hands.  16% of hands and 16% of cell phones were contaminated with the E. coli bacteria found in fecal matter.

  1. Mealtime

Put down your phone and enjoy that hamburger! Touching your phone while eating may not be the best practice, especially if eating food with your hands. Besides getting grease and food particles all over your phone, harmful germs may transfer from your fingers to your food, allowing for potential ingestion.

  1. Work it Out

People listening to music or talking on cell phones is a pretty common sight at most gyms.  Most gym equipment can carry other people’s germs. Be sure to use hand sanitizer before touching your phone to help reduce transfer risk.

  1. Sharing

Handing off your cell phone to someone to take a photo is like inviting them to share their germs with you. This is especially true if you let children play with your phone. Their hands are usually full of all kinds of germs and bacteria while toddlers are prone to putting objects in their mouth. Be sure to give them something else to play with to help prevent them from getting sick.

  1. Multiplicity

Germs multiply and thrive in warm environments. You phone generates heat, as does your body, so holding a phone to your face equals increased germ count. Additionally, bacteria can live for up to a week on any surface, including your phone.

Grossed out? Here are a few tips for a cleaner cell phone:

  1. Alcohol or specific electronic wipes have proven to be effective cleaners. To help prevent damage, always check with your phone manufacturer’s user manual for a safe method to clean your phone and screen. Avoid soap and household cleaners, as they can cause damage.
  2. A dry microfiber cleaning cloth can remove up to 99% of dirt and germs and is safe for cell phone and other electronics screens. Plus, you can easily carry it with you.
  3. Other ways to help minimize germ transfer to and from your phone is to wash your hands frequently before and after use and/or use hand sanitizer.


Coverall North America, Inc. and its Master Franchisees license and support more than 8,000 independently owned and operated franchised commercial cleaning businesses worldwide under the Coverall® name and System. Franchise offers made through prospectus only.


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