How to Disinfect Your Smartphone

A young woman using a smartphone while holding cleaning products.metamorworks / Shutterstock.com

You are probably not cleaning your smartphone as much as you should. Whether you’re concerned about the coronavirus or just the common flu and cold germs, regular disinfection of your smartphone will help reduce your overall risk of getting sick. Here’s how.

Should you use cleaning products or not?

Smartphone manufacturers from Samsung to Apple have instructions to help you clean your smartphone safely. These usually involve wiping it down with a damp lint-free cloth and avoiding harsh chemicals, abrasive cleaners and pressurized air.

Hard cleaners can accelerate the wear rate of your screen’s oleophobic (oil repellant) coating. This coating will gradually degrade as you use your device over several years. The use of alcohol and household sprays can speed up the process. Using bleach and other harsh chemical cleaners will completely eliminate it.

Apple recently updated his official cleaning tips. According to Apple, it is now safe to clean your iPhone with disinfectant wipes. You still should not spray your device directly with a cleaning spray. Here’s what Apple says:

“Using a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox disinfectant wipes, you can gently wipe the hard, non-porous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the screen, keyboard, or other surfaces outside. Do not use bleach. Avoid moisture in the openings and do not immerse your Apple product in a cleaning product. Do not use on fabric or leather surfaces. “

The CDC recommended that everyone “clean all” high contact “surfaces daily to protect against the spread of COVID-19. These surfaces include smartphones, tablets, keyboards and other frequently used technological elements. We’ll show you how to do it safely, using the CDC recommendations use “alcohol solutions containing at least 70% alcohol” to kill germs without damaging your device.

The other option is to use a smartphone disinfection device that cleans using UV rays. However, their effectiveness has not been tested against SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

RELATED: How to safely clean your iPhone with disinfectant wipes

First, clean your case

A smartphone case covered with water.Vladimir Sukhachev / Shutterstock.com

You can effectively clean your smartphone case by removing your smartphone and washing it in hot soapy water.

Since the cases are relatively inexpensive and replaceable, you can also use 70% rubbing alcohol or a broad spectrum cleaning spray to thoroughly disinfect it. If you are following this route, try the following:

Use of 70% rubbing alcohol: Dip a soft, lint-free cloth in alcohol and apply it to your smartphone case. Enter all nooks and crannies and wipe down the entire case. Let the alcohol evaporate. It will not leave traces like water does.
Use of an alcohol-based cleaning spray: Take a soft, lint-free cloth and spray it with the cleaner of your choice. Apply the cleaning spray to all nooks and crannies, then wipe the smooth surfaces. Let the spray evaporate.

With your own case, you can now proceed to cleaning your smartphone itself.

Disinfection of your smartphone

Most modern smartphones are waterproof, but it’s not the best idea to keep them running under a tap. For example, all iPhones since iPhone 7 are “water resistant”, but Apple still recommended that you clean the iPhone with a damp cloth rather than submerging it completely. The water resistance is there just in case. There are many factors that can compromise your device’s water resistance, including damage from dropping it.

The CDC has recommendations for people suspected or confirmed of COVID-19 and members of their household to prevent the spread of the disease. While most people who read this don’t fall into this category, the tips provide solid examples that should help stop the spread of the disease, including:

“For disinfection, diluted household bleaching solutions, alcoholic solutions with at least 70% alcoholand most household disinfectants registered with the EPA are expected to be effective. “

For your smartphone, you should use 70% rubbing alcohol or an alcohol-based disinfectant spray to wipe the back and sides of your device. Do not use bleach. Take a soft lint-free cloth and dip it in alcohol or spray it well with a cleaning spray, then wipe your device and let it dry. You can also use a disinfectant wipe that is pre-soaked in a cleaning solution, as Apple says, a “70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox disinfectant wipes”.

Regarding your screen, Apple advice is to use a 70% rubbing alcohol solution to wipe the screen while taking care to reach the corners. Polishing the screen with a dry, lint-free cloth to remove excess cleaning solution can help minimize the damaging effects on the oleophobic coating.

Glass screen protectors also use an oleophobic coating. Since they can be replaced relatively cheaply and easily, you can probably be a little more carefree with your disinfectant.

Once you’ve cleaned your smartphone, wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, in accordance with CDC recommendations.

Wash hands with soap under a water tap.Alexander Raths / Shutterstock.com

RELATED: You probably wash your hands badly (here’s what to do)

Consider buying a disinfectant

Disinfectants that use ultraviolet (UV) rays to kill bacteria and viruses have been around for a while now. Place your phone inside the disinfectant and the UV rays will disinfect it in a few minutes. You should expect to pay $ 60 to $ 100 for a disinfectant that can kill 99% of bacteria in as little as five minutes.

This technology is already used in hospitals to help sterilize equipment, but its effectiveness has not been tested against villains like SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. On the topic of UV disinfection, the World Health Organization only States: “UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of the skin as UV rays can cause skin irritation.”

Many UV disinfection startups have seen uptick in business in early 2020, despite the lack of evidence of their effectiveness against the recent coronavirus epidemic. One of these companies is based in Utah PhoneSoap, which has grown a thousand percent year-over-year last week, according to the company.

Taylor Mann of CleanSlate UV, a competing UV disinfectant, admitted: “What we can say is that UV light has proven effective against previous strains of coronavirus. We just don’t know how effective it is against this [SARS-CoV-2] strain.”

Even though UV disinfectants have proven ineffective against the current coronavirus epidemic, they remain very effective tools for killing other bacteria and viruses. They are also able to disinfect without damaging the oleophobic coating of your device.

Keep your phone clean

The WHO has not yet announced that disinfection of your smartphone is vital to contain the spread of an epidemic like SARS-CoV-2, but it is common knowledge that our mobile devices are petri dishes of bacteria and other invisible threats.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona concluded in 2012, smartphones carried ten times more bacteria than “most toilet seats”. This is due to the frequency with which we touch our devices and the short time we spend cleaning them.

Taking basic precautions like washing your hands and avoiding touching your face will help reduce the risk of getting sick from a wide range of illnesses. Avoiding touching your smartphone with dirty hands will also help you. Remember that to take a phone call, you usually need to establish contact between your touch screen and your face.

You should also avoid texting on the toilet. Given that the recent epidemic of coronavirus (and many other villains) may spread faecal transmissionIt is a good idea to avoid using your phone in public toilets.

Disinfect your smartphone regularly

If you touch your phone after touching an impure surface, bacteria and other microbes will be transferred to it. Even if you go home and wash your hands thoroughly, by the time you touch your phone, these germs have been transferred again.

That doesn’t mean you have to obsessively clean your phone several times a day, but it’s a good idea to do it when you get home after being in public.

You could take all the precautions in the world and still get sick. All you can really do is limit your exposure by taking a few basic precautions: wash your hands regularly, don’t touch your face, and disinfect personal belongings that can harbor bacteria and other microbes.

While you’re at it, remember to clean your laptop and your AirPods also.

RELATED: How to properly clean your raw laptop

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