Now that we’re all isolated at home (you are, right? Good), our actual physical connections have shrunk. If you’re like most Americans, that means your phone is – and probably always was – your primary lifeline to the outside world.
While you’re madly cleaning and disinfecting your home, give a thought to cleaning that lifeline, the one you check a hundred times a day.
Every time you touch your phone, the phone picks up bacteria from your hands. A 2012 study by the University of Arizona found that cellphones carry 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat – because people clean toilet seats but they seldom clean their phones. Same goes for their laptops or desktops.
Ponder that one. While you’re pondering, grab a cloth.
While Apple used to tell people not to use disinfecting wipes on its products, the company’s now changed its tune and says it’s OK to use a disinfecting wipe like Clorox wipes or other wipe with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol, on the hard, nonporous surfaces like the display, the keyboards and other exterior surfaces as long as you don’t use bleach and avoid getting moisture in an opening.
“These phones have a coating on them to prevent oil or grease from your hand from sticking on the phone,” Jason Siciliano, vice president and global creative director of smartphone protection service SquareTrade, tells Business Insider. “Using alcohol or those types of everyday solutions directly on a phone, on its glass, can harm it.”
Make sure you unplug the phone and turn it off first. Also, never dunk your phone, laptop, trackpad or keyboard in a cleaning agent or spray a cleaner or aerosol spray directly onto the product. That just raises the risk you’ll get moisture in openings like the charging port.
The same goes for Samsung phones; a support page on the company’s website suggests a soft, damp, lint-free cloth instead.
If you want to go full-tech, you can try a UV phone sanitizer that uses UV-C light to break down germs. Those can get costly but it is a stronger way to disinfect your phone.
And don’t forget game consoles, gamepads and remote controls, especially since those may be the items that you’re using the most while staying at home. Give those puppies a once-over with a disinfecting wipe.
Have more questions about how to protect yourself or your loved ones from coronavirus? Send them to [email protected] and we’ll try to answer them.