Be honest, how often do you clean your mobile phone?
If the answer to that is ‘rarely’ or ‘hardly ever’, then you might want to reach for the cleaning supplies.
As disgusting as it sounds, mobile phone owners have been warned their smartphone screen could be dirtier than a toilet seat.
That’s according to Insurance2go, whose survey of 1000 adults in the UK found that 35 per cent of smartphone owners never use cleaning fluids or alcohol wipes on their expensive handsets.
Another five per cent admitted to cleaning their mobile devices less than every six months.
Why should you clean your phone regularly?
That’s simple. Your trusted companion could be riddled with high levels of yeast, bacteria and mould.
“We swabbed three popular handsets – an iPhone, Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy – as well as a toilet seat and flush, and an office keyboard and mouse to test for yeast, mould and bacteria and found some worrying results,” said a spokesperson for Insurance2go.
“Both a toilet seat and flush had lower amounts of bacteria than the Samsung Galaxy and iPhone, and all smartphones were found to have a considerably higher amount of bacteria than an office keyboard and mouse.”
Since the average person touches their phone 3,000 times a day, all that bacteria, yeast and mould could be transferred from your phone to your face, mouth and food.
Clean your screen
Of course, it’s the screens of our phones that we touch most often, making them a breeding ground for bacteria.
“Our testing found that smartphone screens harboured the highest amount of bacteria, yeast and mould, with 254.9 units of infection present per square centimetre,” said Insurance2go.
“The smartphone screens tested were over 10 times more infected than a toilet seat and flush. Bad news considering we press our phone screens against our faces.”
Smartphones vs Acne
And with all this bacteria present, is it affecting our skin? You bet it is.
“Occlusion is when hair follicles become blocked, potentially from a phone pressured against your face – this can also cause acne,” explained Natalia Spierings, Consultant Dermatologist and Medical Director at Dermatica.
“If this happens, a ‘comedone’ is formed (a clogged hair follicle) which can then develop into a spot. Spots can be prevented by not touching your face or, I guess, pressing your cheek against your dirty phone.”
How to clean your phone
While many people think a quick swipe on their clothes will do the trick, to really get rid of bacteria you’ll need to do a lot more.
Dr Shirin Lakhani of Elite Aesthetics suggests to “use a headset when on the phone for a lengthy period of time and regularly wipe your smartphone with an alcohol wipe to remove as much bacteria as possible before using it.
“Alternatively,” she adds, “use a lint-free cloth sprayed with some diluted alcohol solution to effectively banish bacteria, yeast and mould.
“You should aim to clean your phone thoroughly once a week.”