You have started washing your hands at least ten times a day. You don a homemade face mask anytime you need to go to the grocery store. Hand sanitizer is the first thing you reach for when you finally make it back to your car. You stay at least six feet away from people in public. In short…you are doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. However, in all of your caution and sanitizing frenzy, there’s likely one huge germ culprit that you have forgotten about…your ever-present smartphone.
While it’s always important to cleanse your phone and keep it free of germs and bacteria, it is even more critical now, with the country (and the world) struggling to battle such an infectious disease. Here’s the best way you can sanitize your phone and a few tips for dealing with your electronics in the age of coronavirus.
Why you should sanitize your phone
If you’re anything like the majority of the American population, you probably have a smartphone that isn’t just used for making calls. You likely use it for recipes, as a flashlight, grocery lists, texting, GPS, and social media browsing (to name just a few things), which means that you pick up your phone often. Very often. In fact, according to a study by the global tech company Asurion, the average American checks their phone around 80 times a day or once every 12 minutes.
Take a second and think about all of the other things that you touch throughout the day and how many times you mindlessly pick up your phone and start scrolling without washing your hands first. Your phone is a hotbed for bacteria growth, and if there’s anywhere that germs are likely to hang around, it’s your oh-so-useful pocket companion. Studies have shown that coronavirus can survive on hard surfaces from a few hours to a few days.
With that said, sanitizing your phone is a critical step in your coronavirus precautions that shouldn’t be overlooked! However, there are a few things not to do avoid damaging your expensive electronics.
How to sanitize your smartphone
Contrary to previous cleaning recommendations, which basically advised against using anything other than a damp, lint-free cloth to clean your devices, big companies like Apple are now saying that it is okay to use alcohol-based disinfecting wipes on your iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch and other electronic screens.
According to a recent announcement from Apple, “Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces. Don’t use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don’t submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents. Don’t use on fabric or leather surfaces.”
Of course, this advice can be applied to other smartphones as well, such as android and Samsung, and these companies and others have similar guidelines on their websites.
Steps to sanitize your phone:
- Turn the phone completely off.
- Remove the case and wipe the device down with a damp, lint-free cloth.
- Use a Lysol or other disinfecting wipe to wipe down your entire phone gently. Take care to avoid ports where moisture could enter.
- Let your phone air dry for at least five minutes without touching it. Use this time to wash your hands and clean your phone case in the same manner.
- Use a different lint-free cloth to dry your device (if any moisture remains)
- Put your phone back in its case, power it on, and you’re good to go!
Note: If you are unable to find disinfecting wipes, a microfiber cloth with a little soap and water should help remove dirt and grime. It won’t sanitize your phone, but it is better than nothing.
Prevention is key
As usual, prevention is the best step you can take. Avoid bringing your smartphone into stores (when you have to take essential trips), don’t set it down in a public area, and avoid sharing it with others. It is also a good idea to make a grocery list on paper to avoid touching your phone while you on a grocery run. If you can, wash your hands before touching your phone when you are out of the house and try to clean and disinfect it at least two times a week.
Remember, wash your hands and don’t touch your face. The cleanest smartphone in the world won’t make a difference if you aren’t following appropriate cleanliness guidelines.