Mobile Phones – You Make Me Sick!

How to Safely Clean and Sanitise Your Mobile Phone

How many times a day do you touch your mobile phone? Having never thought about it, I was surprised to learn it’s a lot more often than I imagined—for most of us.


According to a study by the research company DSCOUT, the average user engages with their mobile phone around 76 times per day, 132 for heavy users. Total touches? A whopping 2,617 times for average users and 5,427 for heavy users. Wow!


With this in mind, think about how often you clean your mobile phone—other than a quick wipe with the hem of your top, I mean. Rarely? Never? Me either. Most of us just don’t think about it.


But germs help to build a strong immune system, right?


It is true, many species are harmless, but exposure to bacterial and viral germs can cause serious illness and disease, like food poisoning, tetanus, meningitis, gastroenteritis, and Lyme disease.


How do you come into contact with these types of germs?


Well one way is through the transference of faeces (poop) to the mouth. And guess what? Most mobile phones have approximately 18 times more bacteria than a PUBLIC restroom! They have approximately 25,000 germs per square inch.


In a recent study conducted by the Wall Street Journal, lab scientists randomly tested mobile phones in a Chicago building and discovered they all tested positive for high levels of the disease-causing microbe coliform (from fecal matter). Scientists from the United Kingdom claim around one in six mobile phones are so contaminated. Urrggh!


It shouldn’t be surprising, though, since we touch them so often. Mobile phones have become like permanent extensions of our hands. We call, text, watch, play, read, comment, bank, pay, book, share, Google . . . we rely on them more and more every day, and we touch them more and more every day. Not only do we touch them, we put them down in so many different places: on bedside tables, kitchen benches, work desks, park benches, handbags, café tables, baby change rooms, bathroom vanities, even toilet floors!


We may clean our hands after leaving the bathroom (which is a whole other topic for another day), but we don’t clean our phones after their contact with germs. Then we go and touch our faces, our food, our loved ones . . .


So how do you clean—and more importantly, sanitise—your most prized possession without causing damage?


Firstly, don’t just use any old cloth; some can scratch your screen or protector. Use a microfibre cloth that doesn’t scratch and lifts unwanted oily smudges. This will clean your phone, but to sanitise you should use a mix of water and isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Stronger chemicals will destroy the oleophobic layer phones have to help resist oily finger prints. The alcohol content also allows the mixture to dry quicker and prevent the likelihood of damage to the electronic components.


Combine 60% water with 40% isopropyl alcohol in a small spray bottle. Spray mixture on the microfibre cloth (not directly on your phone) and wipe the phone all over. Use a cotton bud if you need to get into small areas.

Do this once a week only as excessive use could have the same effect on the oleophobic layer as harsher chemicals.



  • Microfiber cloth
  • Small spray bottle (can be found at Kmart, aromatherapy supply stores or even eBay)
  • Cotton bud
  • 70% isopropyl alcohol (from your local chemist or Bunnings store)
  • Water