We use our smartphones everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. A recent study shows that most of us use our phones in the bathroom (88%) and in the kitchen (89%). But it's not just these obvious sources of bacteria and viruses, like the flu. We pick up germs when we open the doors to schools and office buildings, use ATM machines, open overhead bins on airplanes, and more. And since we constantly touch our phones, they become a repository for bacteria and viruses.
So how dirty are our phones? One in four of us has never cleaned their smartphone at all, which is why our phones are dirtier than our toilets when it comes to germs. The average smartphone user taps or swipes their smartphone screen more than 2,600 times a day, and each time they do, they’re picking up the germs that linger on their phone. Yuck.
There are cases and screen protectors, though, that have antimicrobial agents baked into the finish that kill 99.99 percent of microbes on contact. So while your phone may not be pristine, it's at least it won't be covered in germs. Check out our picks for antibacterial cases and screen protectors.
Speck Presidio Pro
For all-around smartphone protection, consider one of Speck’s Presidio Pro cases. These cases are available for many different smartphone models, keeping your phone safe from drops of up to 13 feet. But they do more than protect your phone from falls. An antimicrobial treatment inhibits the growth of bacteria on the case so you won’t spread germs around whenever you touch it.
For: iPhone 11 Pro Max, 11 Pro, 11, XS Max, XS, XR, 8/7/6x Plus, 8/7/6s; Samsung Galaxy Note10+, Note10, S10+, S10, S10e; Google Pixel 4XL, 4
Colors: Black, gray, blue, navy, and pink
Tech21 Evo Check, Pure Tint, Pure Clear, Studio Design and Studio Colour cases
If you're looking for more colors or styles than you’ll find in Speck’s Presidio Pro range? Tech21’s slim smartphone cases offer a wider range of looks with the same amount of drop protection for most models, though a few have 8 feet versus 12 feet. In terms of germ-killing power, Tech21’s antimicrobial material also gets rid of 99.99% of the germs that find their way onto your phone.
For: Select models of iPhone XS Max, XR, 8/7/6s Plus. 8/7/6s, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, S20+, S20, Note10, S10+, S10, S10 5G, A70, A50, A40, A30, A20, A20e, A10e; Huawei P30, P20 lite
Colors: Depends on case, but colors include blue, purple, violet, black, red, clear, yellow, pink, aqua, and coral
Antibacterial Screen Protectors
InvisibleShield Glass Elite VisionGuard+ and Ultra Clear+ screen protectors
It’s just a good idea to have a screen protector on your phone: they protect your screen from everyday hazards like scratches, scuffs and cracks. But Zagg’s InvisibleShield Glass Elite VisionGuard+ (glass) and Ultra Clear+ (film) screen protectors go beyond basic physical protection. They have an antimicrobial agent that kills 99.99% of surface bacteria and viruses, so the germs aren't an issue even when you forget to clean your screen. The antimicrobial protection isn't a coating; it is baked into the glass or film so it doesn't wear off over time.
The screen protectors do a lot more than keep you safe from bacteria: they also keep your eyes safe with a built-in blue-light filter that doesn't impact color clarity. And, of course, both the Glass Elite VisionGuard+ and Ultra Clear+ protect your screen equally well against cracks and scratches.
For: iPhone 11 Pro Max, 11 Pro, 11, XS Max, XS/X, XR, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, S20+, S20, Note10, S10+, S10, S10 5G, Google Pixel 4XL, 4
Price: $29.99 - $44.99 from Zagg
UV Phone Sanitizer
While cases and screen protectors do a good job of keeping certain surfaces clean, PhoneSoap cleans every nook and cranny of your phone — no special accessories required. PhoneSoap uses UV light to destroy 99.99% of bacteria and viruses in just 10 minutes. It leaves your phone microbe-free without the use of heat, liquid or chemicals, so there’s no risk to your phone.
We particularly like the PhoneSoap 3, which charges your phone while sanitizing it. The PhoneSoap 3 is sized to fit just about any model of smartphone (up to 3.74 by 0.78 by 6.8 inches) and can clean other gadgets and everyday items just as easily. You can toss your keys, earbuds and other small items you regularly handle into the PhoneSoap 3 to get rid of the germs.
It's also more versatile than a case, letting you quickly sanitize every smartphone in the house, keeping bacteria at bay without investing in special cases for every phone.
For: Most smartphone models, other small gadgets
Colors: White, lavender, gold, blue, green, pink, silver, and black
[Image credit: Using a phone in the bathroom via BigStockPhoto, Speck, Tech21, PhoneSoap, Zagg]