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Dirtier than a toilet seat? How to banish bacteria from your smartphone

21/06/2018 · Blog · Insurance2Go

More than a third of Brits have admitted to never cleaning their smartphones and only 1 in 20 clean their phones every six months or less.

Can you remember the last time you cleaned your phone? Last week? Month? Never? Well, you’re not alone.

More than a third of Brits have admitted to never cleaning their smartphones and only 1 in 20 clean their phones every six months or less. That’s a whole lot of people not regularly cleaning their phones!

But maybe you’d be reaching for the cleaning supplies more often if you knew just how dirty your smartphone really is.

Why should you clean your phone regularly?

That’s simple. Your trusted companion could be riddled with high levels of yeast, bacteria and mould.

In fact, 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.

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.

Definitely not good news for those 35% of Brits that have never cleaned their phones!

And as the average person touches their phone 3,000 times a day, just think of all that bacteria, yeast and mould being transferred from your phone to your face, mouth and food.

Now that’s a scary thought!

Smartphone bacteria

Still not tempted to reach for the cleaning supplies?

Our testing found that smartphone screens harboured the highest amount of bacteria, yeast and mould, with 254.9 units of infection present per cm2.

The smartphone screens tested were over ten times more infected than a toilet seat and flush. Bad news considering we press our phone screens against our faces!

Smartphones vs acne

With all this bacterium present, is it affecting our skin?

Natalia Spierings, Consultant Dermatologist and Medical Director at Dermatica, explained:

 Occlusion is when hair follicles become blocked, potentially from a phone pressured against your face; this can also cause acne.

“[...]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

So how do you effectively clean your phone so it’s free from all this nasty bacteria?

Whilst 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 than that.

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, 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.

So, do yourself a favour and clean your phone. Your health, and face will thank you for it!

Whilst you can now rid your smartphone of bacteria, it’s not as easy to protect it from loss, theft or damage. Our phone insurance starts from just £2.99 a month, so your phone can be thoroughly guarded against harm.


Survey polled 1,000 UK adults in July 2018, ran by TLF.

Swabs and incubator from ‘Dip Slides’ – swabs incubated at 30℃ for 48 hours.

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