Phones are nasty. One study showed that a phone can carry ten times as much bacteria as a toilet seat, while another study conducted in 2017 found high school students have an average of 17,032 bacteria on their phones. Ew.
That's unsettling, but perhaps not totally surprising, given that we take our phones absolutely everywhere and are unable to put them down. Can you think of the last time you went to the bathroom without staring down the steady, infinite scroll of a social media feed?
But now, phone hygiene has become more important than ever in the age of the coronavirus. Self-isolation and social distancing aside, the professional advice remains clear: wash your hands and disinfect areas you touch often – and phones are no exception.
Here we've rounded up some of our favourite accessories and cleaning kits to keep bacteria at bay on our devices. We also have an entire guide dedicated to disinfecting your phone which we'd suggest giving a good read.
1. Antibacterial wipes
Wipes are the first place to start. Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach on your device, especially on screens, as they have a special oleophobic coating that prevents fingerprints and smudges.
Apple has officially green-lit using alcoholic disinfectant wipes, such as Clorox wipes, on the iPhone. Just be sure to use a wipe with 70-percent isopropyl alcohol and to avoid moisture getting into ports and openings.
If you can't find Clorox, there are alternatives available on Amazon.
Remember to wipe your case too, and to allow it to dry before reapplying. And on that note...
2. Antimicrobial phone case
Picking up an antimicrobial phone case is another option (though you'd probably want to give it a wipe every now and then as well).
Two notable brands that offer antimicrobial cases are Speck and Tech21, both of which produce cases with excellent drop protection.
3. Antibacterial Screen Cleaners
If you want the convenience of a portable screen cleaner there are few options that come with small spray bottles and microfibre wipes.
Splash Pure is one we recently tried. It comes with a removable, refillable spray bottle that slips into a case with a microfibre wraparound – it's a clever design that saves you from carrying a cloth around separately. You can use it on any screen, and wash the outer shell in warm water when you need to.
Another option we've recommended before is Whoosh!, a non-toxic antibacterial solvent that can also be used on any display. Pick it up from Amazon for £8.25/US$9.99.
4. UV Sanitizer
You can also use UV sterilizers as a nuclear option, like this one from LayOPO for around £20 on Amazon, which can be used for disinfecting not only your phone, but other bacteria breeding grounds like toothbrushes and make-up brushes.
Casetify, one of our favourite phone case brands also released a UV sanitizer. It's pricier at £100, but 100% of the proceeds go to Global Givings' Covid-19 relief efforts which will support doctors and nurses, provide masks and ventilators, deliver essentials to those in quarantine, and raise hygiene awareness, among other priorities.
UV technology was originally used in hospitals but is now available to the average person – though on a smaller scale. You'll find many of the devices use UVC light, which has a wavelength of 200 to 400 nanometers. The light energy breaks down the molecules within the virus DNA strands, killing it off in seconds.
UV can be dangerous on human skin however, so be careful when you use these devices, which are available in wand and lamp form. As always, remember to carefully read the instructions, whichever device you choose.