Surprising Side Effects Of Not Cleaning Your Phone

If you're like most people, you're texting, scrolling, and streaming. You take your phone with you in your car, while shopping, and in the bathroom. Wash your hands, then touch your phone? You're only getting the germs on your hands again. 

In a 2017 study on 175 people's phones, including 125 health care workers and 50 non-healthcare workers, researchers found six different types of bacteria on the non-healthcare workers' phones. The healthcare workers' phones had 203 different types of bacteria on them. In another 2017 study, researchers tested 27 phones owned by high school students. They found an average of over 17,000 copies of bacterial genes per phone — a lot of germs. Yikes!

There are other gross things on your phone — makeup, dead skin cells, and oils, according to Dr. Jason Miller, a dermatologist. When you touch your phone full of oils and makeup and dead skin cells, and then touch your face — or make a phone call with the phone touching your face — you might experience clogged pores and breakouts. Dr. Miller explains that you can also have the bacteria staphylococcus on your phone, and if that touches your face, you can get an infection called impetigo, causing large, contagious sores.  

The good news is that you can easily prevent bacteria, dead skin cells, makeup, and oils from building up on your phone by disinfecting it

How to disinfect your phone

You should be cleaning your phone once a day at a minimum, according to the FCC. If you don't have one already, get a protective screen cover for your phone so it's easier to disinfect. It will also protect the phone's touch screen from scratches and dings. Check your phone manufacturer's cleaning instructions to make sure it's safe to clean your phone this way. 

You'll need cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol with 70 percent alcohol. Get some isopropyl alcohol wipes, and keep them in your car so you can disinfect your phone on the go. Shut your phone off, and remove the case. Dip a cotton swab in the isopropyl alcohol, making it damp. Use it to thoroughly clean your phone and case — if your case is made of hard plastic. Cotton swabs are perfect because they can get in all the nooks and crannies of your phone (via Bustle). 

If you have a silicone case, you can wash it with warm water, dish detergent, and a clean cloth. Wash and rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry completely before putting the case back on your phone. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and sanitizing if you have a phone case made with a different material (via Cleveland Clinic).