How to keep coronavirus away from your mobile phone
The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is most definitely making its presence known across the world and there’s no sign of it letting up. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face and avoid social contact.
Keeping your phone effectively sanitised is also another smart way to keep germs away from your fingers - especially as by the end of today, you are likely to have touched your smartphone around 2,600 times.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers a mobile phone a “high-touch surface,” which could make it a carrier of the virus.
Washing your hands is a relatively straightforward action, but what about cleaning your phone?
Earlier this week Apple announced on its website that it is possible to safely clean your mobile with disinfectant wipes. The technology giant specified wipes as opposed to using cleaning sprays or anything containing bleach.
Specifically Apple says you should use: “a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.”
According to Apple, it's safe okay to moisten a cloth with a disinfectant or alcohol-based solution and wipe it gently, but never apply liquid directly to the phone. It is important to prevent moisture from getting inside the phone - for example via the charging port, as this could cause the phone to stop working.
Any sort of moisture could interfere with the functioning of your device, so best to avoid liquid products altogether if possible.
Using cleaning agents to clean your phone is not generally recommended. Devices have a coating to prevent oil or grease from sticking to the phone. If you use a harsh solution - such as bleach, this will likely damage the screen.
If your phone has a screen protector, you can clean it with greater peace of mind that you are not going to damage the screen.
Wear disposable gloves to clean your phone, and wash your hands thoroughly after you’re done. Like your phone, reusable gloves might harbour virus particles - so cleaning your phone with them is essentially pointless.
It is best to use a soft, damp, lint-free cloth (e.g. the cloth usually provided by opticians when buying new glasses) and avoid scouring pads or abrasive cloths.
Ensure before you begin cleaning your phone that it is not plugged in or connected to any external power source.
Also, don’t forget to clean your phone case. Wipe it down, in and out - thoroughly. Let it dry before reassembling it.
You might also want to consider changing behaviours with regards to phone usage. Telecommunications company AT&T suggests sharing photos through texts or WhatsApp, instead of passing the phone around, and using devices like headphones and technology like Bluetooth - to keep your phone away from your face.
Cleaning your mobile could be the best thing you do today. The coronavirus disease outbreak is continuing to spread at speed and it is now understood that the virus can live on hard surfaces such as plastic or stainless steel for up to 72 hours.
The WHO recommends washing your hands after each time you use your phone. One option to avoid over handling your phone is to use the voice assistant function (such as siri).