It’s no secret that our smartphones are filthy and my phone is no exception. There are any number of scientific studies documenting such. Our phones go everywhere with us and often times to places where contamination is high making it a breeding ground for germs of all kinds. They touch our faces, ears, lips, and hands. And who knows what our hands have touched prior to or after handling our phone. Keeping our phones reasonably sanitary is a smart way to keep germs off our fingers and away from our face. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consider phones to be a “high-touch surface,” which makes them a possible carrier of the Covid-19 virus. Therefore, it seems prudent that we clean our smartphones regularly and more so, in this time of a global health crisis. The CDC does not know at this time how long the coronavirus lives on surfaces, but evidence suggests it could be hours to 9 days.
As a result of my concern to sanitize, not just cleaning, my phone, I began to research the proper way to do it to insure success in disinfecting and at the same time, not using something that would damage my phone. Here’s what I learned:
Apple support has guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting Apple specific products. Amidst novel coronavirus concerns, Apple recently updated its cleaning guide to say “70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox disinfecting wipes” could be used to clean iPhones as long as one is careful to avoid getting moisture in the openings in the phone. Android users should check with their individual phone manufacturer for specific guidelines. In general, most manufacturers (Samsung has not yet provided a statement) suggest using ordinary household disinfecting wipes or 70% isopropyl alcohol-based wipes to disinfect phones, including the screen. Wipes containing bleach should not be used on the screen as it will eat away at the oleophobic coating used to help prevent fingerprint smudges. In all cases, one must avoid getting moisture into openings like the ports, switches, and camera lens.
The CDC recommends wearing disposable gloves during the cleaning and disinfecting process. To begin cleaning, power off and unplug the phone. Remove the outer protective case and clean as appropriate for the material the case is made from. Wipe the phone with an appropriate disinfecting/cleaning product as suggested by the phone manufacturer. Allow the phone and case to thoroughly dry before putting the two back together. Finally, remove and dispose of the gloves and wash your hands.
While there are some ultraviolet light sanitizing devices available to buy, they have not been proven to be effect for the Covid-19 virus.
Here’s to an “ounce of prevention being a pound of cure” or “I’d rather be safe than sorry” in these uncertain times when there are simple things we can do to protect ourselves.