The Dos And Don'ts Of Keeping Your Phone Clean In The Time of COVID-19

Did you know that cellphones are said to be 10 times dirtier than a toilet seat?

My phone has a Digital Wellbeing app installed, and it shows that I unlock my phone an average of 92.72 times a day. Each unlock is its own story. I unlock my phone while cooking, vaccuuming, reading, eating, and while having coffee next to my dog. That's 92.72 instances of compounded hand contact with an assortment of things inside my house, and that's not even counting the surfaces where I put down my phone.

Rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizers are the products of the year at this point, since proper hand sanitization is one of the top ways to avoid contracting COVID-19. Let's face it, though: We're so often on our phones—and if we neglect cleaning them, our hands could not possibly stay 100% sanitized. 

According to The New York TimesThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has categorized mobile phones as a "high touch surface," which means it's probably a landfill of all the germs we've come into contact with day in and day out. In addition, a 2017 article by TIME Magazine also claims that our cellphones are 10 times dirtier than a toilet seat. (Yikes!)


That said, here are six tips on how to handle your phone to minimize and eliminate the spread of pathogenic bacteria. 

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1. DON'T bring it inside the bathroom. 

A 2011 study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found that one in every six phones they scanned in the UK had particles of fecal matter. If you're bringing your phone to the bathroom, you're likely heightening the chances of unwanted bacteria getting snagged on it. It would be best to make the restroom a strictly no-phone zone—especially if you're planning to use your phone later while you're in bed or getting into your nightly skincare routine. 

2. DON'T let it touch your face. 

Both for virus-avoiding and skincare reasons, your phone should not be allowed to touch your face. If you have to make a phone call, try to use earphones or the speakerphone when you can. When you sleep at night, opt to set your phone on your bedside table or on a shelf, never anywhere near your pillow. Cleaning your phone regularly might make it less dangerous for your face, but why take the risk? 


3. DON'T let others hold it as much as possible. 

Let's say you're at work or school and you chance upon a hysterical meme you have to show your friends. Do you pass your phone around? Maybe not. To be safe, opt to hold the phone as others take a peek, or forward the pic to the group chat. In times like this, it might help to be a bit of a germophobe! 

4. DON'T try to over-clean it. 

Research the type of phone you have and see if the manufacturing company has any tips on how to best clean it. For example, Apple has a list of materials that are too harsh for an iPhone surface, such as aerosol sprays, paper towels, bleaches, and the like. Samsung advises similarly. Needless to say, be very careful when using liquids to clean your phone. 

5. DO use a mild alcohol wipe, or any appropriate cleaning tool. 

Clean your phone whenever you can. If you can afford a touch-up cleaning every other day, do so. When you're sick, it's advisable to wipe your phone with a soft cloth more often than you normally would. In general, agreed-upon phone cleaning tool is a mild, gentle wipe with a bit of 70% isopropyl alcohol, or Clorox disinfecting wipes. The key is to not scrub too hard, lest you make a scratch or destroy your LED. If you feel that the product is too harsh, go at it slowly to be sure, and feel free to do more research. 


6. DO clean your phone case, too, as well as other phone paraphernalia. 

As you get into the habit of phone-cleaning, don't forget to add all your other gadgets and related accessories to the club. Remember: like so many other things, gadgets come into contact primarily with our hands. In this work-from-home situation, many of us spend hours and hours of our days with our palms pressed against our keyboards. Let's make gadget sanitization a thing, much like skincare! 

Final note: In addition to our gadgets, high-touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, and bedside tables. Now that many of us are at home under community quarantine, it is advisable to clean these surfaces every day, just to be completely safe. Ultimately, in the end, we'll never know if we were too clean, but we'll definitely find out if we weren't clean enough. 

This story originally appeared on


* Minor edits have been made by the editors.









About the author
Sofia G. De Aros

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"Bloodlines are nothing when you don't know how to fulfill your responsibility as a parent."
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Today, I am sharing my mother's story. I wish my mother was a constant in my life, like an angel who guards you to sleep and comes right there when you called. But angels come back home too, in heaven where they always belonged, and my mother went back a little early. My mother died when I was 13 years old. My last memory of my mother: Letting go when you are not yet ready is a very cruel thing that one has to ever experience. It is a sudden wave of total sadness and desperation crashing into your very core.

On the 28th of July 2013, we went to a resort in Bataan for the employees’ getaway. My parents own a 7-11 franchise, and it had always been a tradition to give their store clerks a get-together every year. I remember very well the last breakfast I had with my mother. The Sunday morning sky was clear and sunny, and the sea was calm and tranquil as we ate our breakfast on a cottage under the tall palm trees. She shared with us a strange dream she had the other night. She dreamt about an unknown woman holding an ice pick chasing her down on a dimly lit street, then she woke up just before the woman could grab her arm. We never knew what that dream exactly meant and now, I wished I never knew its meaning. After breakfast, my family and our employees decided to take a swim at the beach. The day was nice. The morning air may be chilly but the sun’s kiss on our skins gave us warmth. It was perfect. Everything is fine and the tides are low which made it very enjoyable to swim. We swam a little farther from the shore and we stopped to the point where the water reached our shoulders. We were talking about the good things in life and reminiscing the good old days. Those are the things that I’ve always loved about my family because I never had a meaningless conversation with them.

A few moments later, we heard a panicking call for help from one of our store clerks. It was Rachel. She was struggling to keep her head above water. She was already drowning but the odd thing was, she was only a few feet away from us. At first, we thought she was just playing around until we felt the sand in our toes dissolving like powder. It felt like as if the seafloor submerged deeper. I remembered sighting the shore and it seemed so close yet very far away. We were all panicking at that time. No one knew how to swim except my mother so without having second thoughts she swam towards Rachel and called out to my father, “Yung mga anak mo! Dalhin mo sa pampang yung mga anak mo!” and I never thought I already heard my mother’s last words to my father. I was paddling like a dog, gasping for air, as I say a little prayer to God to take us all back to safety. I felt my father grabbing our swimsuits, trying to lift our bodies so we can breathe even though he was also struggling to keep himself alive. Once I felt my toes touch the ground, there came a veil of relief that covered my whole body. As soon as my father and my sister made it to the shore we started calling out for help. There were no lifeguards on duty at that time, no personnel, nor guards. I saw my mother already floating in her stomach. We sighted a boat sailing nearby, we waved our hands and called for their attention. They almost ignored us because they cannot comprehend what we were trying to relay but the good thing was a passenger in the boat noticed my mother and Rachel in the water.

My mother’s body was laid on the shore. She was unconscious and her whole body was pale as white. My father performed CPR but my mother couldn’t get the water come out of her mouth because the food she ate earlier got stuck in her throat and blocked the passage. A concerned tourist offered his car to deliver my mom in a nearby health center or a clinic of some sort since the hospital was miles away from the beach and she needs immediate care. My father told us to stay in the hotel room and prepare mom’s belongings so that if she wakes up she has fresh clothes to change into. My sister and I finished packing our things and waited for our father to pick us up from the hotel. I was crying and I couldn’t stop myself because I was afraid to lose my mother. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be if I lose her that day. Moments lasted until we heard a knock on the door and it was my father, crying, and apologizing to us. He hugged me and my sister tightly and saying, “Sorry, anak, sorry hindi na uuwi si mommy, sorry hindi ko nasagip si mommy”. And that was the moment I felt sinking into the ground. I never knew what to feel at first. I was numb because my worries were now actually a reality that I have to live in. I was at shock because I am now one of the kids in those cliche teleseryes who lost a mother at an early age. We went to the health center to settle everything. The clinic was very small and it sure did lack equipment. He told us to stay in the car. I wanted to see my mom, but I know he never wanted us to see her like that. I didn’t know what to feel. I was having high anxiety levels that my stomach is churning and I wanted to vomit. I got off the car and entered the health center to find the restroom. When I was finding my way around, I passed by the emergency room. I saw my mother lying in a foldable bed, lifeless, her hands dangling from the side of the bed, she has violet bruises on her skin, and her body was partially covered with a white towel.

That is when it sunk into me that she’s dead and never coming back. My father asked the others to just commute back to Manila because what we need right now is comfort from our family. The drive back home was one of the most painful memory I had as a kid. My father was in the steering wheel crying his eyes out. We drove from Bataan to Pampanga. We went home to my grandmother’s house, the nearest house that we can call “home” because how are we still going to be “home” without her?

Once we reached Pampanga, we stopped over to the gas station and my father made some calls to our loved ones to tell them that my mother passed away. He then called my aunt to help him arrange for the funeral. We got home and my grandmother hugged us and told us to get some rest. Already tired of crying, I went to sleep for a while. I woke up and for a second, I thought everything that happened the other day was all just a dream. That she was there in Manila, sitting on the couch reading some furniture magazine, waiting for us to go home. But that’s how cruel life is, right? I got up and weirdly, I felt sands in the bed. It was gray, just like the ones on the beach. I thought maybe it was just dirt but it was a fair amount to believe that maybe she visited us before she left. - ?

- The part of how I conquered the grief of her passing is shared in my personal blog. I felt the need to share my story with everyone since she's the woman I look up to. Feel free to visit my personal blog too when you have the time. I love writing my stories. Thank You! link:

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