The One Thing You're Forgetting to Clean During Cold Season

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Fall is finally in full swing, but unfortunately, that also means that cold and flu season is upon us. You've likely been hearing strangers coughing and sniffling everywhere you go lately, but while you're probably (hopefully) already taking precautions like washing your hands frequently, there might be something you're missing—something right under your nose. You might even be reading this article on it right now.

That's right, I'm talking about your cell phone.

Think about it: everything you touch when you're out in public—door handles, subway poles, so many other things you probably don't even consciously think about—has germs on it that can make you sick. And all the while, you're touching your phone, so even when you wash your hands, you're still going to end up reintroducing yourself to all those germs. And there are a lot of them.

In fact, your cell phone is so germy, it's actually dirtier than a toilet seat, containing roughly 25,000 germs per square inch.

So along with washing your hands and the other usual recommended steps you should be taking to prevent yourself from getting sick—you know, getting your flu shot, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow instead of your hands, not touching your face, and staying hydrated—make sure you're cleaning your phone regularly. It's quick and easy to disinfect your phone, and it might just make all the difference.

How to Clean & Disinfect Your Phone

To clean your phone without damaging it, skip the antibacterial wipes (as BuzzFeed notes, they're too abrasive for phones). On a daily basis, a moist microfiber cloth should be enough to get rid of most bacteria, according to the New York Times. But you'll need a sterilizing agent like alcohol to fight off flu viruses, which is why you should disinfect your phone once a week—more than that might damage your phone (your phone case, on the other hand, can stand to be cleaned daily).

To disinfect your phone, all you need is a microfiber cloth, distilled water, 70% isopropyl alcohol and a small spray bottle. Simply mix equal parts water and alcohol in the spray bottle, shake it up to mix it, spritz a small amount onto the cloth, and wipe down your phone—voila, no more germs!

Alternately, you can always just invest in a phone sanitizer.