Tech Talk

Coronavirus Free: Keeping Your Phone Clean

Oct 15, 2022 Esteban Facundo



Here’s a hard truth: Your phone is gross.


Cell phones are one of the dirtiest, most bacteria-ridden objects we come into contact with. In one study, scientists found that the average smartphone had ten times more bacteria than a toilet seat! Yuuuuuck!

Phones are gross for lots of reasons–we touch them all the time, for starters. Plus, lots of people use them in bathrooms, put them on the floor, on tables, and next to sinks, we pass them around to other people, and–if you ever use your phone to actually make calls–it touches your face and ends up close to your mouth where you can breathe, cough, or sneeze on it.

Our phones go through a lot, but we usually don’t remember to clean them. And knowing how to clean a phone, especially the screen, without damaging it is kind of tricky. That means that a lot of folks just…don’t.

Generally speaking, you should clean your phone at least once a day–and that’s under normal circumstances. When communicable illnesses are on the rise like during cold and flu season, or now that coronavirus is the word of the day, it’s important to keep your phone as germ-free as possible.

So how do you clean a cell phone? The answer is a little bit complicated.

These days, most smartphones have oleophobic and hydrophobic coatings that protect the phone from water and natural oils (these coatings are what make your phone water-resistant and smudgeproof). The problem is that the most common means of cleaning and removing bacteria involve alcohol, which can wear off these protective coatings.

Until recently, phone manufacturers suggested that users not apply any kind of alcohol to clean their phones. But Apple has recently updated their guidelines, approving the use of Clorox and other 70% isopropyl disinfecting wipes. Other phone companies, though, have not made similar changes to their guidelines.

The best thing you can do to keep your phone clean is to start by minimizing the amount of bacteria your phone comes into contact with from the outset. Don’t take your phone into the bathroom with you. Wash your hands regularly, and try to avoid touching your phone to your face.

Even with these precautions, though, your phone will still need to be cleaned regularly. To do this, you’ve got a couple of options…and some measures to avoid.

For starters, don’t wipe down your phone with bleach or 100% isopropyl alcohol. Also, don’t attempt to wash your phone. Though most phones are now water-resistant, you should still avoid submerging them in water when possible.

Using a microfiber cloth helps, but it won’t sanitize your phone. Microfiber is primarily for surface cleaning, like removing fingerprints and grime. Also, the cloths don’t kill bacteria, so you’ll need to wash it or toss it after use.

As we already mentioned, you can use antibacterial wipes–at least on iPhones. Unplug your device and turn it off before wiping it down, and be sure that the wipe is moist, not dripping wet. Let your phone air dry afterwards.

Finally, the most effective way to clean your phone and protect it at the same time is with UV light. UV cell phone cleaners run about $30 and won’t damage any coating. These devices shine a UV light that kills all bacteria in minutes. Be sure to remove your cell phone case and to run both your phone and the case separately.

All this talk of bacteria-laden phones might have you rethinking buying pre-owned. And it’s true that since viruses can be shared through touching a contaminated device, you could potentially get sick from a stranger’s phone.

That might be a problem if you decide to buy from a peer-to-peer marketplace like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. But you’ll have no such worry if you buy from UpTrade!

Every device that comes through UpTrade is carefully sterilized, and each phone is carefully wiped down prior to shipping. Plus, our inspectors always wear gloves. This protects the phones themselves from any additional wear and protects our consumers from any unexpected contamination.

When you visit to shop for a phone, you’ll find inspection photos and video of each pre-owned phone, and you can see for yourself that our employees always wear gloves when handling devices–that way everything stays clean, sanitized and ready for you to use.

When you get a phone from UpTrade, we guarantee that it will be clean–both the software and hardware.

Keeping it clean, though? That’s up to you!

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© 2022 UpTrade Networks Inc. All Rights Reserved