Dirty Talk: How to Clean Your Cell Phone & Why You Should

Nowadays most of us are never without our cell phones. We use them regularly in restaurants, on buses, in the bathroom, at the gym, and every other time and place in between. When we’re not holding our phones to our ears, we’re gently cupping them in our hands, keeping them warm by playing games and checking email. And when we finally manage to pry them from our grip, we store them close by, in pants pockets. You know who really appreciates all these warm environments? Bacteria does!

Wired.com reported on a study by Dial-A-Phone which showed, “the irradiated warmth of a cellphone’s interior is a vile, germ-infested bath loaded with more pathogens than any surface in your home.”

Are you seriously disturbed yet?

Now try this on for size: Joanne Verran, Professor of Microbiology at Manchester Metropolitan University explains about the findings, “The phones contained more skin bacteria than the any other object; this could be due to the fact that this type of bacteria increases in high temperatures and our phones are perfect for breeding these germs.”

This is all a little vague. Let’s zoom in and clarify what kind of bacteria we’re talking about, shall we?

One seriously gross study found that one in three people don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, which means that even if you aren’t guilty of this shameful habit yourself, the person you last lent your phone to probably was. Pretty crap friend, eh?

It should come as no surprise then, that when a bunch of really smart science people from the University of London performed a whole lot of tests, they found that a shit ton of people’s cell phones contained traces of E. coli, as well as influenza and MRSA, a germ that causes rashes and skin infections. Stateside, one microbiologist shocked the cast of Good Morning America, and much of the country, when he tested their phones and found that half contained staph bacteria, which can cause anything from skin infections to meningitis.

With the advent of touch screen phones, we’re finger painting in poo more than ever, and transfering about 30% percent of whatever is silently boiling away on your phone’s surface onto your fingers. You know what you do with those very fingers? You put them allll over your face. You know how often you do that? A whole lot.

So I think you get the point.

Listen my little lambs, I’m sorry to disturb you so thoroughly, but you see I had to in order to sufficiently impress upon you the very dire importance of disinfecting your phone. The good news is that now that we got through the really painful part, the proper procedure for doing so is actually quite simple.

You will need:

– Rubbing alcohol/ disinfectant spray

– A towel/ cloth/ cotton swab/ etc

– Q-tip

– (You can, if you wish, simply buy disinfecting cloths made especially for cell phones)

Now here’s what you do:

Step 1. Turn your phone off

Step 2. Apply alcohol/ disinfect spray to your wipe of choice (enough that it will have an impact, not so much that the cloth is soaked and you’ll kill your phone)

Step 3. Wipe down the surfaces of your phone with your cloth

Step 4. Use Q-tip for crevices and hard to reach spots, using care not to get into liquids into the charging port

Step 5. Wipe down the phone with a clean/ dry cloth before restoring your phone’s power

Step most important: repeat this procedure once a week, experts advice.

I hope I’ve scarred/scared you into submission. It really is for your own good. Unless, you know, you enjoy smearing poop all over your face. So… you’re probably going to go clean your phone now, right?

K, bye!!

Image credits: Streetfsn, GQGlitter Guide, Apartment Therapy, unknown 



  1. This should have been common sense for a germaphobe such as myself but I’m ashamed to say I haven’t done this since I bought my phone in January! Thank you for the heads up – this disinfecting will occur each week!

  2. OMG I’m so disgusted right now and I’m SO doing this the moment I get home!!! Thanks for the warning. Yikes! xoxo

  3. Yep, I will be cleaning my phone asap! I’m feeling quite disgusted thinking about how dirty my phone must be! xx

  4. Axelwan Kenobi says:

    Same goes for the TV remote, considered to be the filthiest surface in the home. Fortunately I don’t rub it on my face.

  5. Kittendelish says:

    I’ve been doing this for ages! I actually carry those little alcohol swab packets diabetics use in my wallet and whip them out all the time- they come in handy!

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