A Trick to Keep Your Phone Cleaner Than Everyone Else’s: Hit Your Sweat-Soaked Germ-Drenched Gym

I like working out. No, really, I do.

When I’m at the gym, I almost always enjoy myself. A balance of weight lifting and cardio keeps my heart healthy and the rest of my body happy too. When I’m at the gym, that is—motivating myself to actually getthere is often the obstacle.

Fortunately there is a gym in the apartment building I live in. Unfortunately it’s fairly small and clearly catered toward more casual exercisers (there isn’t even a squat rack). Still, it gets the job done for most things—including keeping my BlackBerry Z10 and Apple iPad Mini clean.

Wait, what?

Yes, it’s true: one of the perks of being a regular at the gym is that my smartphone and tablet are cleaner than almost everyone else’s. Allow me to explain, but first, let’s understand why cleaning your smartphone properly even matters.



The gym itself is filthy. Incredibly filthy. Any reputable gym holds itself to high standards of hygenics and is kept reasonably clean, but don’t kid yourself—hundreds of people are using the equipment throughout the day; all of them are sweaty, and some of them didn’t wash their hands after using the gym bathroom (an evenm more extremely germ-laden place).

This is just a fact of life, however, and the gym’s grime is a rule, not an exception. For example, light switches get up to 217 bactera per square inch, while keyboards typically have 60 times more germs than a household toilet seat—so your own home might be just as gross. Oh, and your smartphone, the one you touch all day with your hands? Yeah, it’s definitely very nasty too. A cloth wipe may remove fingerprints and dust, but it will never remove the stuff you can’t see. A study by Food Safety Training firm Keeping It Kleen found that 16% of cellphones have poop on them.



Okay, so now you never want to go to the gym or type on a keyboard or use your phone again. Sorry about that. The good news is that most bacteria is perfectly harmless to humans, a warm soapy shower will purify you from the filth of any gym, and your smartphone, as mentioned above, can be kept clean for free with one simple trick.



If you’ve ever been to the gym, you’ve probably brought at least one mobile device with you. Some people bring their phone to text between sets (please leave the gym!), but mostly they’re for practical, gym-related purposes—an iPod playing music to power up that extra rep, a smartphone’s clock app to time rest periods between exercises, or even a tablet or e-reader to thumb through fitness magazines while cycling.

So you have your device with you while at the gym. And if you’ve ever been to the gym, you’ve probably hit one of the facility’s cardio machines: an elliptical, a stationary bike, a treadmill. Nearby is always a paper towel dispenser and a sanitizer spray, which the gym hopes you’ll use to wipe down the machine after use to minimize the spread of germs between patrons (like washing hands after using the bathroom, it happens most of the time, but never often enough).

Well, guess what? That same sanitizer that is safe for the screen and outside of the treadmill is safe for the screen and outside of your iPhone. Here’s how to optimize this trick.

1. Always spray a paper towel first, then wipe your device with the paper towel. Just like with the treadmill, spraying your device directly could cause liquids to seep inside the device and damage the electronics.

2. Don’t forget to wipe the backside of your device. It collects just as much bacteria as the screen does, so wipe the whole thing while you’re at it for a full sanitzation effect.

3. Save your cleanse for the end. Regardless of what you’re doing at the gym, don’t bother sanitizing your device until you’re on your way out—otherwise, your sweaty hands and the germs from the surfaces of the gym will get it dirty again rather quickly.

4. Keep it that way. After sanitizing your device, handle it as little as possible until after you’ve showered. Nothing undoes a cleansing quite like sweat-soaked fingers drenched in other people’s germs.

5. Rinse and repeat. Okay, don’t actually rinse your phone—that’s a really bad idea. But do repeat: whether you hit the gym once a week or every day, this trick will keep your device cleaner than your friends’ (whose smartphones you’ll probably never want to touch again).