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How to Properly Clean Your Smartphone

The 12 Easiest Ways to Keep Your Touchscreen Clean — Because It's Disgusting AF

Photographer: Sheila GimNo Restrictions: Editorial and internal use approved. OK for Native and co-branded use.

Neglecting to clean your cell phone is a nasty tech habit that everyone should break. Cell phones have been proven to carry bacteria, germs, and even feces. Yes, feces. If there's one new routine to create for yourself this year, it should be keeping that smartphone shiny and clean (your health will thank you). Ahead, check out a few of our tech-friendly tips to clean that gadget.

  1. Clean your screen. Cleaning your smartphone's touchscreen is like cleaning your LCD monitor: you don't want to use any harsh chemicals or, even more damaging, water — we've all had to bury a dying phone in rice. Using a tried-and-tested (and natural) spray cleaner like Screen Mom Natural Screen Cleaner Kit ($20) won't damage your phone's sensitive bits. Use the included microfiber cloth to wipe away fingerprints and other oils without the risk of scratching like paper towel might. Good (and clean) as new!
  2. Check your bar cart for DIY disinfectant. If you don't want to pay for a special formula, a 50/50 isopropyl alcohol and distilled water mixture (about $4, if you don't already have at home) is an OK alternative. (Note: don't use any sort of aerosol sprays, solvents like ammonia, or harsh cleaning agents, as Apple warns, on your touch screen!) Be sure to only use the solution on solid phone parts; you can use a damp microfiber cloth and a foam or cotton swab for those small and hard-to-reach places.
  3. Or use Scotch tape. If you're in a pinch and want to quickly rid your phone of dirty crevices and fingerprints, use a piece of Scotch Tape to peel away dirt and dust. This trick is great for when you're without a microfiber cloth, but, unfortunately, it won't do much to help the germ situation.
  4. Invest in a antimicrobial phone case. While a phone case protects your phone, it does not protect you from all the bacteria it picks up along the way. An antimicrobial case like the Clic Air Antibacterial Case ($25) has antibacterial properties that kill bacteria, fungus, and mold and prevent the build-up of these germs.
  5. Protect your screen, too. Your dirty fingertips are scrolling through your email (and Instagram feed) all day. The BioArmor Antimicrobial Screen Protector ($30-$50) has antibacterial properties — thanks in part to silver — that break down bacteria and prevent the growth of germs, all while protecting your smartphone's glass screen when you accidentally drop it on the sidewalk.
  6. Or try a liquid "glass" screen protector. The Liquid Glass Wipe-On Screen Protector ($15) protects your screen (and hands) with a nano-coat of liquid solution that has antibacterial, plus scratch-resistant properties when it hardens.
  7. Sanitize (and charge) your phone in its own UV "tanning" bed. Serious germaphobes can ensure a clean device with the PhoneSoap Smart Phone UV Sanitizer and Universal Phone Charger ($60), which cleans, sanitizes (with UV light), and charges your device all at once. Just drop it in once a day for germ-free surfing and calling.
  8. Practice proper phone etiquette. Just like you shouldn't put your elbows on the table, you shouldn't have your phone out either. Your hands come in close contact with your mouth and lots of germs at the dinner table. (Plus, it's rude!) Snap your #FoodPorn pic and put your phone in your pocket.
  9. Don't have a potty mouth. It's no wonder phones have been shown to carry feces when 75 percent of Americans uses their phone while on the toilet. Toilet texting not only puts your phone at risk of drowning in the toilet bowl, but exposes your hands to all kinds of germs. Grab a magazine instead.
  10. Wash your hands to the beat of the alphabet. Your hands carry tons of germs between scrolling through your phone (especially if you were on the toilet), touching someone else's screen, opening doors, shaking hands, and other hands-on activities. Keep your hands and phone to yourself whenever possible, and make sure to wash your hands with soap and water. A good hand-washing takes 15 to 20 seconds, according to the CDC — that's about as long as it takes to sing your ABCs.
  11. Bonus points: be prepared on the go. You should have a hand sanitizer on your desk and carry one in your bag for when you're rushing around town. You should also keep electronic-safe alcohol wipes, like these Zeiss Mobile Screen Wipes ($7), in your bag. And use them religiously; even if you let a friend borrow your phone, wipe it down after.
  12. While you're at it, wash your face, too. On top of dirty fingertips scrolling through your phone all day, oils and makeup can add to the gunk on your screen when you make and take phone calls (aka when your already dirty phone is pressed against your naturally oily cheek). Cleaning your face will keep your screen cleaner, plus help prevent breakouts.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim
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