You're Probably Cleaning Your Cell Phone The Wrong Way

You use it to text, scroll through Instagram, order pizza, make 2 a.m. Amazon purchases, and maybe even call someone. Our cell phones are a huge part of our daily lives, to say the least. Something that might not be a big part of your daily life, though? Cleaning and sanitizing your phone. If you give the screen a quick wipe with your t-shirt or occasionally spritz some Lysol on it, we hate to break it to you but you're doing it wrong.

While germs were on the forefront of our minds throughout 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we spent a lot of time cleaning our kitchens and bathrooms. However, it's easy to forget that our phones can be just as dirty and disgusting as other parts of our home. Verizon Wireless cites a study that determined people touch their phones more than 2,500 times in one day. And if you're a "heavy user" of your phone? That number is closer to 5,500.

When you think about all the other communal surfaces you touch in a given day (like bathroom fixtures or gas station pumps), it's no wonder your phone screen can become a hotbed host to nasty germs. If the thought of microscopic fecal material on your phone is making you queasy, read on to discover the correct way to clean your cell phone and eliminate those germs.

How to clean your phone

Because our phones are delicate and expensive pieces of technology, care needs to be taken when cleaning them. Good Housekeeping says you want to begin the process by turning off your phone, unplugging it (if applicable), and then removing it from its case. You never want to spray a cleaner directly onto the screen, especially an abrasive one like bleach or Windex. Make sure to choose an alcohol-based cleaner or disinfectant wipe instead. If you're going to use a spray cleaner, mist it onto a microfiber cloth and then wipe the cloth across your screen.

Make sure to keep moisture away from the ports on your phone, warns Good Housekeeping. Once you've wiped everything with the cloth or wipe, let your cell phone air dry for about five minutes. Then, dry off any remaining moisture or residue with a paper towel or a fresh microfiber cloth. Good Housekeeping suggests repeating this process every couple of days for best results.

How to clean your phone case

Since phone cases are meant to protect our phones, they're usually made from heavy plastic or other sturdy materials. With that being said, the cleaning process doesn't have to be as delicate as it is for the phones themselves. If your case is plastic, Verizon Wireless suggests washing it thoroughly with hot water and soap. However, if you're crunched for time, you can follow the same steps that you used to clean your phone, and give your case a quick and easy scrub with a disinfectant wipe. While you've got the wipes out, it won't hurt to clean your charging cord and headphones, too.

If you don't love the idea of cleaning your phone and its case on a regular basis, Verizon Wireless says that there are cases and screen protectors which will fight the germs for you. Popular phone case brand Otterbox has a line of cases that provide antimicrobial defense. What's the secret? Otterbox says that their Defender Series Pro case is "infused with a silver-based additive that continually blocks microbial growth." While a case possessing this technology will certainly provide an extra layer of protection against germs, you should still give it a good cleaning every few days.