Here’s How Filthy Your Cell Phone Really Is

It’s time you start washing your phone as often as you wash your hands.

Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Can you remember the last time you were out in public without your phone in your hand or somewhere on your person? While you’re grabbing lunch you might have it resting on the counter while you search for your credit card in your wallet. Then when you go to the bathroom you might leave it on top of the toilet paper dispenser. And, at the end of the day when you take the train or bus home, you switch it from hand to hand as you navigate public transportation while still staying on top of all your notifications.

How many germs are actually on your phone?

Let’s face it: Your phone is a breeding ground for germs. And what is especially unsanitary about it is how close you put it to your face and mouth on a regular basis. Scientists at the University of Arizona found that your phone is ten times dirtier than most toilet seats. Gross! Here are other items that are dirtier than a toilet seat. Another study also found that a typical high schooler’s smartphone can have as many as 17,000 bacterial gene copies on it. Think about that the next time you press your phone up against your face to make a phone call.

“Your phone is exposed to everything you touch. What’s on your hands is on your phone. Health-care experts stress that washing your hands frequently with soap and water is the best defense against the spread of germs that cause sicknesses and viruses to spread,” shares Adriana Catinari, Product Manager at Whoosh! You should also be washing your phone on a regular basis too, here’s how to properly clean it.

Why do phones get so germy?

Everyone always remembers to wash their hands multiple times a day, but many times neglect their phone screen. The reason your phone holds so many germs is because it remains warm throughout the day because of how often we use it. The warm environment allows bacteria to grow very easily and puts you at a greater risk of getting infected.

The germs on our phones can also lead to the development of acne and blackheads on your face. When your phone is pressed against your face while you’re on a call the surface of our skin warms up, opening up our pores. The bacterium then gets into your pores causing skin irritation. Here are some other germ spreading items you’re probably carrying right now.

How can you keep your phone clean?

Catrinari suggests using one of the many products offered by Whoosh! to help keep your phone screen germ free. “It is the best way to “wash” your phone, ultimately, stopping the spread of germs that grow on the dirt that accumulates on your phone,” she said. You can also purchase phone cleaning kits to make sure you get every nook and cranny and smartphone sanitizing stations that use UV light to kill germs.

It’s obviously unrealistic to tell people to give up their phones to stay healthier since most people don’t even know how to function without them. But always keep in mind how many things you touch during the day, and how gross your phone can get as a result of that. Continue to wash your hands frequently throughout the day but also remember to wash your phone screen just as often. Now learn how to clean all of the digital screens you own.

Popular Videos

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for rd.com or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.