COVID-19: Hand hygiene also means cleaning the smartphone

COVID-19: Hand hygiene also means cleaning the smartphone

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Prevent diseases: clean cell phones

Currently, there is a constant emphasis on the importance of regular hand washing to protect yourself from respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, but also from the common cold or flu. But what is often overlooked in hand hygiene: the smartphone should also be cleaned from time to time.

More and more people are becoming infected with the novel corona virus. It is known that the risk of infection by droplet infection is greatest. According to studies, however, the virus can also be detected on objects, sometimes even after days. The recommendation to wash your hands often and thoroughly remains extremely important in order to avoid virus transmission to the respiratory tract and mucous membranes. Hand hygiene also includes the cell phone.

Pathogens on the smartphone

As the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) writes, we tap our smartphone on average over 2,500 times a day. And every time we transmit germs, bacteria and other pathogens to the surface.

In addition to the visible veil, a dense bacterial film also accumulates on the display. Most of these are bacteria from the skin and mouth.

While we are on the phone, pathogens from the lungs or germs from food or cosmetic residues can get onto the device. But our hands can also transmit pathogens. Regular care is therefore extremely important.

Around 100 types of bacteria on the screen

According to the TÜV, only one in four Germans cleans the surface of their smartphone consciously and intensively. An average of around 100 different types of bacteria frolic on a smartphone.

But according to TK there is no need to panic. Most of them are bacteria that are completely natural in humans in the mouth, skin and intestines. If the immune system is intact, the risk of getting sick is also rather low.

The risk of flu and colds is somewhat greater. It is then especially important to clean the cell phone display regularly. If you first blow your nose and then send the next message, you don't have to be surprised about cold viruses or other pathogens on the display.

Because pathogens also spread via doorknobs, grab handles in the tram and similar stoves, they inevitably end up on the touchscreen.

Especially at the time of the flu and because of the corona virus, the cell phone should therefore be cleaned regularly.

Increased risk of infection in hospitals

In general, there is also an increased risk of infection in hospitals. On the one hand because the patient's immune system is attacked, on the other hand because there are far more pathogens in a small space than in a normal home environment.

That is why it is important not only to wash your hands during a stay in the clinic, but also to regularly clean your smartphone.

The best cleaning tips

TK has summarized the five best cleaning tips for smartphones on its website. In general, of course, you should wash your hands regularly, because this means that there are considerably fewer germs on the device.

Use a microfiber cloth or glasses cleaning cloth
A simple variant and yet very effective: Even when dry, microfiber towels absorb a lot of fat. With circular movements and little pressure, fingerprints and wipers can be easily removed. It is therefore perfectly suitable for everyday care.

A tip from the health insurance company: Moisten cloths slightly to remove even more germs.

Warning: Never use sharp cleaning agents, glass cleaners or alcohol on devices with a plastic display, as these can damage the plastic surface of the touchscreen or make it blunt.

Use screen protector
Bacteria feel particularly at home in creams and make-up, which then easily migrate to the display when making calls. A protective film not only prevents scratches in the display, but is also easy to change. This also removes pathogens.

Use disinfectant sprays
Specialized disinfectant sprays are available from specialist retailers that can be used to remove bacteria and other pathogens. Alcohol, detergent and soapy water should not be used as they can damage the device.

With cotton swabs against coarse dirt
If dirt has accumulated at the inputs of headphones or the charging socket, a conventional cotton swab will help. Excess fluff should, however, be removed beforehand so that it does not get caught in the connections.

An unused soft toothbrush is also good for removing dirt from the connection sockets.

Attention: Only clean the connections with dry swabs.

Toothpicks for spaces
Older cellphones in particular have grooves and small spaces in which dust can accumulate and germs can find their home. You can carefully drive along the grooves with a toothpick. But please do not poke around in the copper or gold-colored contacts! Something can break quickly. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Techniker Krankenkasse: Hand hygiene also includes a cell phone, (access: March 21, 2020), Techniker Krankenkasse
  • Techniker Krankenkasse: This is how quickly your smartphone gets clean (accessed: March 21, 2020), Techniker Krankenkasse

Video: Reduce your COVID-19 risk: Wash hands, clean cell phones and workstations (January 2023).