Clean your phone at least once a day, says infectious disease specialist — here's how


There were more than 800 reported cases of coronavirus in the United States as of Tuesday and more than 115,000 worldwide. This scare has led to a spike in sales of products Americans think will help them avoid the virus, like hand sanitizer, and shoppers have been taking pictures of barren grocery store aisles, reporting that things like toilet paper and pasta are all gone

More than likely, however, there is no need to buy too much of anything, Dr. Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals who works with the UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health, tells Grow. "I do not think that there is going to be a massive coronavirus outbreak in the United States, so my advice would be to be vigilant, but calm, and not to panic." 

To protect yourself from coronavirus, health professionals say the most important thing to do is wash your hands regularly. Don't forget to clean your phone regularly, too. "I always clean my phone at least once per day," says Edwards.

Your phone is 'like a third hand'

"It's often said that your phone is like a third hand because you're constantly touching it," says cleaning influencer Melissa Maker.

People take their phones out to eat, on the train, and to the bathroom. As a result, cellphones carry more than 17,000 bacterial gene copies each, according to a 2017 study. The report concluded that this "may play a role in the spread of infectious agents." 

Cleaning phones daily, at least, is smart, says Edwards. "Certainly, if you are letting a lot of people use your phone, you would want to clean it to help prevent spread."

It's often said that your phone is like a third hand because you're constantly touching it.
Melissa Maker
Cleaning Influencer

How to clean and disinfect your phone 

If you want to clean your phone effectively, Maker says not to use a Lysol wipe or disinfectant wipe, as it may strip the coating of your phone over time. "The chemicals that are used in those disinfectant wipes are not meant to be used on electronics," she says. 

Until recently, Apple advised against the use of traditional cleaning products or compressed air. But this week, Apple updated its instructions to say, as long as you wipe gently and avoid getting any liquid in charging ports. 

Guidelines for Android handsets still advise steering clear of disinfectant wipes.

One alternative: cleaning wipes that are specifically made for electronic devices. A 210-pack of individually wrapped lens- and screen-cleaning wipes is $16.99 on Amazon right now.

Maker suggests using a microfiber cloth. "Microfiber has the ability to pick up bacteria," Makers says. "Then you can launder the microfiber cloth." A six-pack of microfiber cleaning clothes is $9.99 on Amazon right now. 

A damp microfiber cloth can remove microorganisms including viruses and bacteria and is more effective than a cotton rag, microbiologist Kristen Gibson told the The Wall Street Journal. It won't damage your phone the way a Lysol wipe might, either.

You can also pair one with a homemade cleaner that is equal parts water and rubbing alcohol. Dip the cloth in the mixture, make sure it's not excessively wet, and then wipe down all parts of your phone. This will serve as an effective disinfectant. 

And, of course, make sure you frequently wash your hands. 

More from Grow: 

acorns+cnbcacorns cnbc

Join Acorns


About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The contents presented herein are provided for general investment education and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any specific securities or engage in any particular investment strategy. Acorns is not engaged in rendering any tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.

Any references to past performance, regarding financial markets or otherwise, do not indicate or guarantee future results. Forward-looking statements, including without limitations investment outcomes and projections, are hypothetical and educational in nature. The results of any hypothetical projections can and may differ from actual investment results had the strategies been deployed in actual securities accounts. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Advisory services offered by Acorns Advisers, LLC (“Acorns Advisers”), an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Brokerage and custody services are provided to clients of Acorns Advisers by Acorns Securities, LLC (“Acorns Securities”), a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”). Acorns Pay, LLC (“Acorns Pay”) manages Acorns’s demand deposit and other banking products in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank, a bank chartered under the laws of Iowa and member FDIC. Acorns Advisers, Acorns Securities, and Acorns Pay are subsidiaries of Acorns Grow Incorporated (collectively “Acorns”). “Acorns,” the Acorns logo and “Invest the Change” are registered trademarks of Acorns Grow Incorporated. Copyright © 2019 Acorns and/or its affiliates.

NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns Grow Incorporated.