One Secretly Filthy Thing You Should Clean This Weekend

One Secretly Filthy Thing You Should Clean This Weekend

Shifrah Combiths
Jun 8, 2018
(Image credit: Liz Calka)

When my children were little, they had small security blankets. I learned after my first child that a light color (hers was pink) was a really, really bad idea. She took it everywhere with her, and within a few months, despite regular washings, it was a dingy pinkish gray. I'd jokingly refer to it as a biohazard.

These days, most adults' cell phones go with them even more places than a baby takes her security blanket. (I'll leave you to draw the other parallels between cell phones and security blankets.) And though they may not look as dirty, all our cell phones most certainly could use a thorough cleaning.

Cell phones are dirtier than many things we deem to clean regularly, including doorknobs and kitchen counters. One study clocked the amount of bacteria on cell phones at around 17,000 per square inch, according to Time Health—potentially worse than several objects we wouldn't dream of touching with our bare hands, such as public toilet seats and the soles of people's shoes.

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(Image credit: Kim Marcelo)

This Weekend's Assignment:

Clean Your Cell Phone.

To clean your phone without damaging it in any way, let's start with a few don'ts:

  • Don't spray any kind of cleaner directly on your phone
  • Don't use a paper towel (or other paper products) because its fibers could scratch the screen's surface
  • Don't use any cleaner with ammonia in it

Cleaning and disinfecting your phone may be easily done simultaneously. Here are some options:

  • Use a lint-free cloth and a solution of rubbing alcohol and water. Dampen part of your cloth lightly with the mixture and rub it gently over your phone, being especially careful to avoid getting any moisture inside ports, buttons and speaker holes. Remove the cover and clean this as well. Wipe everything dry with the non-damp part of your cloth. (Be aware that some phone manufacturers warn that alcohol could damage your screen's protective coating over time.)
  • Use a solution of white vinegar and water with a microfiber cloth in the same manner as described above
  • A cotton swab can get into the tough-to-reach spots of your phone and case
  • In a pinch, you can use a disinfecting wipe to swipe your phone clean

To help keep your phone more sanitary between cleanings:

  • Be aware of what you're touching, especially in public; germs will collect and multiply on your phone
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after being out and about, touching pets, etc.
  • Don't take your phone into the bathroom
  • Try to (discretely) clean your phone off if other people use it

You can catch up with weekend projects right here. Share your progress with us and others by posting updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #atweekendproject.

Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we've sent you, or tackle another project you've been meaning to get to. It's also completely okay to skip a weekend if you're busy or not feeling the assignment.

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