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How to clean your phone without harsh chemicals, according to experts

Research shows that our phones harbor more bacteria than a toilet seat. We have expert tips on how to clean them in the best and safest way.

No one wants to think about how dirty their phone might be. It's probably the most high-touch surface in your personal universe, and chances are you frequently set it down on counters, tables, desks and more — areas that get plenty of action and could be crawling with germs. Scientists at the University of Arizona found that cell phones actually carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats.

The good news: We're going to teach you how to clean your phone properly. Once you get in the habit, you'll be golden. Speaking of habits, Dr. Emily Martin, a member of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health, addresses a familiar one: "Taking a cell phone in and out of the bathroom is kind of like going in there, not washing your hands and then coming back out." Touché! So don't bring your phone in there at all!

Most people don't think to sanitize their phones, but according to several studies, it makes a big difference. Believe it or not, deep-cleaning your phone does not require harsh chemicals. Scroll for a quick, easy step-by-step plan.

Experts say to keep that cellphone out of the bathroom! (Getty)
Experts say to keep that cellphone out of the bathroom! (Getty)

According to the Economic Times and SellCell, multiple swab tests found that 100% of phone screens contained E. coli; several other bacteria, like bacillus cereus (responsible for intense food poisoning) and certain things we don't even want to mention were also found on smartphones in large quantities.

You may be tempted to grab some a household cleaner or hand sanitizer to sanitize your phone, but the folks at CNET and several other tech outlets advise against this. These products could have ethyl alcohol and fragrances that might harm your phone. All you need to safely get the job done is a microfiber cloth and 70% isopropyl alcohol.

With a whopping 50,000+ five-star reviews on Amazon, these No. 1 bestsellers are an easy win. Each comes in its own little bag, so you can toss them in your pocket and still keep them clean.

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Some experts recommend sanitizing your phone every day. Others say twice a week is fine, but you definitely should wipe the screen clean daily. (Important note: If you have a screen protector that's cracked, toss it.) Bacteria can build up there. Here's how to sanitize your phone.

Step 1: Turn off the phone and take off the case (the corners and creases can trap germs). Wipe your phone's screen gently with a microfiber cloth. Be sure to get the camera's lenses and edges.

Step 2: Mix a 50/50 solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol and tap water. Apply a bit of the solution to a microfiber cloth.

Step 3: Wipe down the entire phone (front, back, sides) with little force. Wipe down the phone case (paying special attention to corners).

Voila. Your phone is sanitized!

Yup, isopropyl alcohol (diluted with water) is the best solution for killing germs on the surface of your phone.

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If you'd rather pay for the convenience of having your phone sanitized for you, you totally can. UV-light cleaners are available and legit. And they're so easy to use, you won't think twice about disinfecting daily. Devices like PhoneSoap eliminate 99.99% of germs and bacteria on the surface of phones and other small tech items.

First introduced on Shark Tank, the PhoneSoap UV light is a great option for effortless disinfecting, killing 99% of germs in five minutes. Just open the lid, place your phone inside, then close the lid. That's it. The outer light shows you that sanitizing has commenced. When the light goes out, your phone is ready.

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Here are some smart tips for lowering the gross factor of your phone, regularly.

Avoid using your phone on public transit: It's no secret that buses, trains, planes and ride shares are breeding grounds for bacteria. Railings, handles, poles, armrests — germs are everywhere. Touch a surface, touch your phone, and germs can easily be transferred.

Don't take your phone into the bathroom: A 2018 study released by Bank My Cell found that three in four Americans call, text, or scroll on their phones while using the restroom. As you know, there are lots of germs and bacteria on bathroom surfaces, so the best plan is simply to not take your phone into the bathroom.

At the gym, stow your phone or strap it to your arm: Sure gym-goers wipe down equipment, but those machines are probably not as thoroughly sanitized as they should be. So keep your phone off the equipment. Use a protective phone strap like the one below or simply stash your phone in a zippered pocket or a closed gym bag.

This armband phone case has more than 36,000 five-star reviews. It'll keep your phone safely attached to your body while you work out, so you're not tempted to set it down on potentially germy surfaces at the gym.

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Avoid using the phone while cooking — instead, print out recipes: Illness-causing bacteria like E. coli and salmonella from raw meat can contaminate your phone without you even knowing, especially if you're scrolling through a recipe while you cook. This can sometimes result in serious illness. To be safe, keep your phone out of the kitchen when you're cooking; wash your hands thoroughly before handling it again.