It’s a story you’ve heard before: your smartphone is a cesspool of bacteria and germs — 5 times worse than a public toilet seat (which just so happens to be my favorite place to use my phone). In fact, there are so many unique germs on your phone that a recent study showed how researchers could use them to tell a person’s diet, health status, hygiene products, gender, or even the places they’ve visited.
We’ve seen a relatively small effort by a few companies at tackling this issue of icky germs, whether it was the Kyocera’s washable smartphone or Corning’s specially formulated Gorilla Glass enriched with antimicrobial ionic silver. Of course, this doesn’t apply to whatever device you currently own and although hygiene plays a big part in the build up of germs and bacteria on your phone, it’s definitely not foolproof. Because your warm smartphone is the perfect breeding ground for microbes, even if you’re a clean freak (as I, myself, learned), germs and bacteria always seem to find a home on your device.
One solution is to fight bacteria and germs using alcohol wipes, hand sanitizers, or other harsh chemicals to sanitize your smartphone, but it’s probably not the best idea. Not only can these liquids creep inside ports and break down weatherproof seals, they can also strip the oleophobic layer from the display, diminishing that slick “new phone” feeling we all love so much. It’s because of this, manufacturers like Apple don’t even recommend using these types of products on your devices and we wouldn’t either.
So, what else can germaphobes do to ensure their phone isn’t a petri dish of harmful microorganisms? All you need is some light.
The power of the UV-C light
There’s another interesting way to kill germs on your phone, one that doesn’t require chemicals, wipes, or even anything to come in contact with the phone at all. It’s called PhoneSoap and it could be the single best invention for smartphone addicted germaphobes.
PhoneSoap works much the same way as those toothbrush sanitizers you’ll find on Amazon. Like a mini tanning bed, your phone rests inside PhoneSoap while it blankets your phone in glorious UV-C light. It’s this light that kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria, some of which you want to avoid (flu virus, E. coli, or even MRSA, for example) and even “super bugs” that have built up a resistance to chemicals and antibiotics. In fact, hospitals use a similar method to sterilize and disinfect entire rooms using robots to emit a powerful UV light. It’s the perfect way to kill germs without the use of harsh chemicals.
Still fits the 5.9-inch Huawei Mate 9 easily
If PhoneSoap sounds familiar, that’s because it was one of those bright ideas to come out of TV’s Shark Tank. That was years ago. PhoneSoap recently launched a new model — PhoneSoap 2.0 — and is larger to accommodate phablet-sized smartphones (see the Mate 9 above). There’s also a redesigned cable pass-through hole so you can charge your phone while it’s being sanitized, and “acoustic” outlets so you can still hear your alarm in the morning. The cable hole is still sort of crude and we would have loved to see a more streamlined approach, but it works.
PhoneSoap is still powered by a regular micro USB cable and the entire process takes about 10 minutes with no heat. Once you’re done, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing your phone is clean and free from disgusting little germs.
Even if you don’t classify yourself a bona fide “germaphobe,” the thought of someone using the restroom then preparing your food without washing their hands probably makes you uncomfortable (a moment captured beautifully in the Seinfeld clip below). Ironically, it just so happens the best time to use your smartphone is while you’re killing time on the toilet. So, even in the event someone does wash their hands after using the restroom, they’ll be back to checking messages on their dirty phone shortly after. Kind of gross, right?
Of course, the toughest sell is trying to convince consumers PhoneSoap is doing anything at all, with no real way to actually see the results, at least not without a microscope. For skeptics or those doubting, The Discovery Channel actually went hands on with PhoneSoap a few years back, taking it to the lab to see if the claims were true. The results? PhoneSoap virtually eliminated all traces of bacteria from the device. It just works.
PhoneSoap 2.0 comes in a variety of colors to match your home decor and is priced at $60 with free Prime shipping on Amazon, or directly from their website for $50 + $5 shipping (3-7 days). It’s not any more expensive than a new PS4 game, but still hardly an impulse buy. There’s also a much larger version to hold your tablets, but at $120, double the size comes double the price.
Antibacterial phone wax?
But the PhoneSoap charger is just one part in the goal to achieve a perfectly clean and sanitary smartphone. There’s also PhoneSoap Polish. Yup, it seems the guys at PhoneSoap have thought of everything. PhoneSoap Polish is a combination wax/polish similar to Smitty’s Glass Wax which I told you guys about a little while ago. After trying them both, I have to say, PhoneSoap Polish is superior in a few different ways.
First off, PhoneSoap Polish is a solid, 100% all natural — antibacterial — wax that’s completely non-toxic and chemical free. Although it’s technically safe to eat, I wouldn’t recommend it. The wax acts helps prevent fingerprints and bacteria from building up on the glass, but like Smitty’s, it’s not really oleophobic. That means you’ll still get some fingerprint build up, but smudges will be much easier to remove with a shirt or microfiber cleaning cloth, so it definitely helps.
On top of the cap is a sponge which is used to spread and massage the wax compound into the display. This helps the wax fill in the microscopic pores where bacteria like to live. Like a car wax, once it’s built up a haze you can wipe it off using the included microfiber cleaning cloth. PhoneSoap recommends leaving the haze over night before removing for best results.
Once polished, you’ll be amazed at how slick, glossy, fingerprint free your display will be — just like the day it came out of the box. If you enjoy the way your finger glides over a brand new display, than you’re definitely going to want to grab this. Not only will it rejuvenate old devices, but protect your phone’s factory oleophobic layer from wearing down.
Because it’s solid compound (unlike Smitty’s) it seemed to work better on new smartphones that still had oleophobic layer intact and lasted longer between applications. Not only that, it’s antibacterial as well, a huge win in my book. At $18, it’s more expensive than Smitty’s but still reasonably priced and should last the lifetime of the phone. If you’re looking to pick up a bottle, you can find the buy link below.
With all the nasty things we touch throughout the day, our smartphone’s shouldn’t be one of them. PhoneSoap’s line of products make it easy to keep our devices clean, sanitary, and provides the peace of mind of knowing that your smartphone is no longer harboring a tiny city of bacteria. There’s no easier way to keep your sanity than by dropping your smartphone into a PhoneSoap charger for a few minutes each day, or by using PhoneSoap Polish to keep it feeling fresh and new.
For those suffering from mild/moderate OCD or just regular folk who don’t like the idea of having dirty smartphone pressed against their face, PhoneSoap could be the perfect product for you. For more on PhoneSoap, including their full range of products and accessories, check out their website below.