In today’s edition of “things you didn’t know existed but now desperately want,” you can buy a smartphone sanitizer that cleans your phone in ten minutes. Retailer and catalog company Hammacher Schlemmer is to thank and/or blame for the phone sanitizer that’s now making you question the cleanliness of your own iPhone. And make no mistake: your phone is probably super dirty, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Dubbed the 10 Minute Smartphone Sanitizer, Hammacher Schlemmer’s product description claims the sanitizer can eliminate microorganisms like Streptococcus, E. coli, and Salmonella from your phone in under 10 minutes using ultraviolet light. The sanitizer disinfects smartphones “using the same technology trusted to sterilize hospital instruments,” eliminating up to “99.9% of viruses, germs, and bacteria in under 10 minutes.” The device weighs 11 ounces and can accommodate phones up to 7.1 inches by 3.9 inches, meaning your iPhone 11 Pro Max should comfortably fit. “This device employs two UV bulbs inside the case that are rated for 20,000 hours and emit germicidal light,” Hammacher Schlemmer states and it comes with an aromatherapy feature.
As you may expect, a sanitizer that utilizes UV light and has an aromatherapy option comes with a heftier price tag: $99.95.
Now, let’s get back to the germ-infested task at hand: your dirty, dirty smartphone. As you may expect from something you carry around constantly and most likely use while in the bathroom, your phone has a decent amount of bacteria on it. One 2017 study looking at the phones of high school students found more than 17,000 bacterial gene copies per phone. If that sounds like a lot of bacteria...it is. According to a 2012 study from the University of Arizona, your average cell phone carries 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. And you’re probably not putting your fingers or face all over your toilet seat all day.
And now, for the grande finale of facts, the bit of information you definitely did not want to know: there might be poop on your phone. A 2011 study conducted by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, fecal matter can be found on one out of every six. Smartphones. So, if you’re playing the odds, you probably don’t have poop on your phone. Maybe you’re the other five in that six. However, that’s not the most comforting thing to hear about a device you put your mouth by.
This is all to say that you don’t need to be meticulously scrubbing your phone every single day. For context, your clothes, jewelry, belts, etc. are also exposed to a world of bacteria and you’re still doing just fine. (And tell me the last time you washed your ring or your belt.) You don’t need a fancy-schmancy phone cleaner, but if you’re looking for options Amazon also has some highly rated cleaners that aren’t quite as expensive as Hammacher Schlemmer’s super, turbo $100 cleaner. There are also household products you can use to clean your phone. Just keep in mind that dousing your phone in water is definitely not the way to go for obvious, phone-destroying reasons.
Kõljalg, S. et al (2017) High level bacterial contamination of secondary school students’ mobile phones. Germs, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5466825/
Gerba, Charles. (2012) Why your cellphone has more germs than a toilet. University of Arizona. https://cals.arizona.edu/news/why-your-cellphone-has-more-germs-toilet
Val Curtis, et al (2011) Contamination of UK mobile phones and hands revealed. London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2011/mobilephones.html