COVID-19 has spiked the demand for hand-sanitizers and pushed even the non-believers to maintain extreme personal hygiene. But there are some objects that we are always in contact with. Yes, I’m talking about your phone! Well and other devices too to be clear. While you might think that cleaning your devices isn’t necessary, The Journal of Hospital Infection suggests that a virus can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days. The same reason why Apple changed it’s cleaning policy. Interestingly, Singapore’s health ministry also released an advisory stating, cleaning the phone is even important to wear a mask. So, what’s stopping you? Here is how to keep your phone clean amidst Corona outbreak.
1. General Habits Around Devices
- Clean your smartphone, at-least once a day to maintain regular hygiene.
- Your phone comfortably touched your face while you talk. As the chance of contamination is a lot more try using a headset so you can escape bringing the phone closer to the face.
- Don’take it to the bathroom, I’m serious! It’s one section of the house which is filled with germs and can act as a medium for virus spread. Don’t believe me? Here’s a picture representation.
- Avoid lending your phone to people until it’s necessary. It’s better to be cautious than sorry!
2. Clean Your Phone
Before we get into how to disinfect your phone, try not to use your phone with dirty hands or until you sanitize it. Stricly follow this as it’s an effective precautionary measure.
- First of all, unplug all the cables and don’t try cleaning it while charging your device. Remove all the batteries if possible.
- If you can get a case for your phone. Mostly, these cases are easy to wash. You can use a mild soap or a hand sanitizer every now and then or even wash it underwater.
- Use a microfiber cloth to clean the surface of your phone and also the peripherals. If you don’t have that at your disposal, use any soft cloth. Be sure it’s not an abrasive cloth, bathing towel or paper tissue, as it might scratch the surface of your device.
- Try to keep moisture away from ports and any opening in the phone. Not all the smartphone are rated for being water-resistant, so check before you dis-infect.
- Strictly avoid using any sort of bleaches and if you’re using a cleanser, avoid pouring it on the device. You should spray it on the cloth rather than directly on the surface.
- For most phones, you can use mild soap and water to disinfect the back and side surface of the phone. Google suggests this for its Pixel range of phones and I’m sure it works for many others as well.
- Use 70% isopropyl alcohol-based wipes, don’t worry, most of these household wipes will have this. If not you can find one from EPAs list of disinfectants or find one on Amazon.
3. Using a Special Device Dedicated to cleaning your phone
If you don’t want to keep cleaning your devices manually, there a device to do that for you as well. As you’re constantly scrolling while you’re eating, playing games and even in the loo (which you should avoid), it’s not always possible to clean it manually or that frequently. One device that you can use is a UV light cleaner specially designed for electronic devices. Some of the top-rated products include HoMedics UV-Clean Portable Sanitizer, Munchkin Portable UV Sterilizer or PhoneSoap UV Sanitizer, all of which claim to kill 99.99% bacteria. These devices generally use UV-C LED Technology and are safer than wipes which might harm the phone’s surface. Samsung uses them in-house and the best part is, you can use other objects too (if they fit).
4. What not to use
Our smartphones screens are fragile surfaces and have an oleophobic coating (oil-repellent), but if you somehow manage to destroy the coating, here is iFixit’s guide on, How to Restore or Apply an Oleophobic Coating. Hence, to protect this surface using any type of strong household cleansers can be damaging which might lead to screen erosion. You must also not use any type of abrasive material such as a bathing towel or a paper which possibly will scratch the surface of your phone.
If you’re worried that you might damage your screen, I highly recommend getting a screen protector which can be replaced easily and doesn’t cost much.
Just keep in mind and do not go over the top to clean your devices. If need be, you can follow the steps I discussed above or read the updated device cleaning policies on Apple’s and Google’s (Pixel) website. Samsung, on the other hand, also released a guide to keep your phone clean. In addition to that, they also have an ongoing service called Galaxy Sanitizing Service where you can get your phone sanitized for free. The service is currently limited to 19 countries but they plan to expand it soon.
Our phones are always in our hands. Whether it’s after a handshake or a long run, you can’t escape touching your phone. When the phone is the most touched object, it’s better to consider cleaning your devices and surfaces before going ahead with self-isolation. Hope this was helpful. If you want to read detailed methods to clean your device, visit the websites mentioned above and don’t forget to keep your surroundings clean!