A How to Clean a Cell Phone

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Last updated April 12, 2019

Keeping your cell phone free of bacteria has often been discussed as a hygiene issue, but people may be surprised by the results of an experiment conducted by researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada.  Keeping a cell phone clean is actually a whole lot less complicated than some might think, judging from the results of the study. 

Dr Sarah Forgie and fourth year medical student Andrea Berendt tested the art of cleaning cell phones with various different kinds of alcohol based disinfectant wipes and found that the results were no different from wiping the cell phone with a simple wet cloth that had been dipped in salt water.  Forgie, who presented her findings on Wednesday after already having them published in the journal PubMed, says she intends to conduct a follow up experiment using ordinary tap water, which she speculates could work just as easily as salt water.  “It would be great for the general public,” she notes.  “Everyone has access to tissues and water.”

Forgie came up with the experiment after having observed how other doctors and hospital staff were concerned about transferring bacteria to their patients from their cell phones and pagers.  The test was primarily for the wipes, with the wet tissue merely being something to measure the results against, only to find the tissue worked just as well as the wipes if used several times.  “It reassures me,” she admits.  “I wasn’t using too many anti bacterial products to begin, and I feel good about that still.”