Antibacterial soap and hand sanitizers are great ways to fight germs, but what about all the bacteria living - and thriving!- on your cell phone? We’ve all heard that the average dog harbors less bacteria in its mouths than a human, but recent findings have shown maybe your cell phone contains up to ten times the bacteria of a toilet seat! These devices which practically live on our hands and are frequently pushed up against our faces, carry approximately 11,020 germs per square inch! If 80% of the infections human beings suffer through annually come from things we touch, how can we combat these sniffle-causing agents? Following is the lay person’s guide to minimizing bacteria on your most faithful companion and partner in crime.

Buy Antibacterial Wipes
Though your typical disinfecting wipes used to clean objects around the house may seem like the best (and cheapest) option, these seemingly non-abrasive wipes can actually damage your phone. If wipes aren’t available however, a mix of isopropyl alcohol and water can do the trick.

Power Down & Remove the Case
Turn off your device and begin your deep clean. Remove your case (clean this separately) and focus on every crack and crevice on your device. Home buttons, power buttons, ringers, and volume buttons are the areas where the most bacteria ill be harboring. Focus your attention here, but don’t neglect the screen or even the back of your phone.

Be Consistent
Make it a habit to disinfect your device. Even if only once every few weeks, something is way better than nothing. Even a rotation of a light scrub between those deep cleaning sessions can drastically decrease the amount of germs living on your screen.

Wash Your Hands
To minimize the amount of bacteria you have to work hard to remove when you clean your phone, make sure you frequently wash your hands (and that anyone who touches your phone also washes theirs!). Though you are unlikely to become sick from your own bacteria, anything you’ve touched during the day will transfer to your device if unobstructed.