Dirty Cell phones are not healthy !

 by Dr. Alan Kadish

So you think your handy companion is even remotely clean…..think again. Not surprisingly when you consider your literally talking, spitting, coughing and sneezing in the phones proximity, why should it be anything but a bacterial saucepan ?

Are you stuck with this biology experiment….absolutely not ! We can break down the conversation into two district aspect of cleaning. Most of us have place our expensive phone into a “case” of one sort or another. Others have chosen to be careful and pray that they don’t drop or otherwise fumble the phone onto a solid surface.

If you have a case it could be made out of a number of different materials ranging from a number of plastics to metals and even wood. They all have different cleaning aspects and will react differently to  which chemicals will impact their appearance and longevity. Also consider if it will change their shape or otherwise damage them.

The question of what is the best of the cleaners is nothing less than completely dependent on who your consult.  And the answer may be that the use of a specialty microfiber cloth beats out all the other options, except one.

If your going to wipe the surface use a microfiber cloth NOT paper or cotton products. The former is too abrasive and on a screen it will scratch the surface and ultimately result in screen distortions. The cotton cloths will only move the dirt about.

Microfiber cloths are a unique product that tend to remove most dirt and bacteria and if you want the best option consider the microfiber products used on glasses and readily available at most convenience or optical stores.

A tip….there are different qualities of microfiber, based on size of the individual fibers. For a really good price and quality the best appear to be found made by, ecloth.com. The size of the fiber is the key, theirs is one of the smallest, which is best.

When you start the cleaning process power down the phone first, just to be on the safe side. If you use a cleaner of any kind wait until any and all of the liquids evaporate before replacing the phone into it’s case and turning on the phone.

When you go to most phone manufacturers websites they state the following for cleaning instructions.

Apple®

The materials used to make Apple products vary; in some cases each product may have specific cleaning requirements, which may vary by the part you are cleaning. Here are some tips that apply to all products to get you started:

  • Use only a soft, lint-free cloth. Abrasive cloths, towels, paper towels, and similar items may cause damage to the item.
  • Disconnect your Apple product from any external power sources.
  • Disconnect any external devices and other cabling from the product.
  • Keep liquids away from the product.
  • Don’t get moisture into any openings, and don’t use aerosol sprays, solvents, or abrasives.
  • Do not spray cleaners directly onto the item.

For many of the major manufacturers of cell phones, no specific instructions are given. Rather a typical rap is similar to the above information.

There is another option to really get your phone germ free, not clean of debris. UV light has been used for decades to effectively neutralize bacteria and viruses. There are a number of firms that make these products including: https://www.phonesoap.com and a high end scientifically proven device, made in the states from Rest Assured UV Sanitary Systems, called the Cell Blaster .

There is a significant difference between the products, including the time necessary to sanitize your phone, 60 seconds (Cell Blaster) vs 4 minutes for the (Phone Soap)…….

I’ve been “cleaning” my phone regularly, with the Cell Blaster and especially when our kids are ill. I feel very comfortable recommending this product as the science is sound and the few seconds of cleaning is an easy step towards lowering our bacterial and viral loads.

Then there are the liquid cleaners to address the dirt and grime accumulated on the phone. These generally are a combination of alcohol and other agents, sometimes packaged with a microfiber cloth.

If you’re using an Apple® product, they endorse the use of a water based product, with a special cloth, iKlear .  There are other firms including iliv and antic that have “natural” lines of cleaners. Unfortunately they fail to fully disclose the ingredients in their products… so no endorsement from me at this time.

With different cases the information is once again all over the board. It was interesting that for a number of the case manufacturers a call was necessary to even get a response. 

Otterbox™:

    How do you clean the case? Our cases can generally be cleaned with mild soap and water, then air dried or dried lightly with a paper towel.

Body Glove Mobile ™: (e-mail)

There really isn’t an “approved” method for cleaning these but please see the Business Team recommendation below:

Remove device from case.

Dampen a lint-free cleaning cloth (microfiber or terrycloth) with a small amount of dish soap

Clean dirty areas with the cloth

Dry the case off before putting back on device

 

Trident Cases™: (e-mail)

Thank you for reaching out to us. I would suggest using a damp cloth. A solution of dish soap, or any liquid cleaning product you have on hand should be fine. Or you can try mild dishwashing detergent and warm water. Rinse with water and let it dry thoroughly before putting your cellphone inside.

 

Conclusion:

As a member of the cell phone carrying group….stay cleaner by following the above directions and use common sense. Avoid paper products and  don’t use water based cleaners, directly on the phone. Purchase a good microfiber cloth and consider the use of the UV Cell Blaster. We put our’s by the entrance way and find it convenient to use regularly.

For those of you interested in bacteria, here is a picture from a typical cell phone.

Cell phone bacteria

 Picture by: EXPLORING THE INVISIBLE, SIMON PARK

Copyright Center of Health™ 5/2014  For permission to reprint this article, please contact the author.

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Dr. Kadish is an unusual physician often referred to as a "doctor detective". His expertise is the evaluation and treatment of complex disorders, typically after other physicians have been stumped, is renowned. He provides care for all family members and has additional training in autistic spectrum disorders and chronic complex diseases.

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