Washing hands, no face touching, wearing masks, cleaning surfaces, and social distancing are things that have been recommended during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as a mainstay of infection control by all prominent health societies. However, one of the most used surfaces that we might forget about are mobile phones. These are considered a peculiar ‘high-risk’ surfaces, which can directly come in contact with the face or mouth while talking over the phone, even if hands are properly washed and clean.
Your phone is a hotbed of different types of germs, and it is neither disposable nor washable, thus warranting disinfection. Mobile phones can effectively negate hand hygiene, as there can often be seemingly compulsive and frequent use of mobile phones immediately after hand washing or hand rubbing with alcohol-based sanitizers. There is growing evidence that mobile phones are a potential vector for pathogenic organisms.
Read below to learn more about your smartphone hygiene at the time of COVID-19.
1 || Disinfecting wipes: Companies like Apple have recently changed their position on using alcohol-based wipes and similar disinfecting products on their devices. In Apple’s case, it still recommends using a slightly damp lint-free cloth to wipe your device clean. But it has changed its previous advice to avoid disinfectants — instead of warning against harsh chemicals, claiming the products may strip the oil-repellent “oleophobic” coating on your phone, Apple now says those problematic wipes are in the clear.
“Using a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your iPhone,” Apple says on its updated support page. “Don’t use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any openings, and don’t submerge your iPhone in any cleaning agents.”
Could cleaning products still damage your phone, even with approval from the manufacturer? Yes, but only if you’re obsessively scrubbing your screen with them — so remember to chill out with all that wiping.
2 || Wash Your Hands Before & After Cleaning your Phone: Keeping your phone clean won’t matter much if you’re not practicing good hygiene in other ways. If your hands are dirty, so is your phone and vice versa. So you need to make sure to clean them regularly. First, start by washing your hands, then clean your phone using a damp cloth and finish by washing your hands again.
4 || Microfiber cloth: To reduce the risk of scratching your screen, use a damp microfiber cloth rather than paper towels. The cloth won’t kill bacteria though.
5 || Technology cleaners: There are specific cleaning products available for electronics and screens which will kill bugs and shouldn’t leave any streaks.
6 || UV lights: For a serious clean, products including PhoneSoap will use UV to flash and kill microscopic bacteria. These gadgets are pretty expensive considering that cheap alcohol wipes do the job just fine. If you think it’s cool and want to buy one, go for it, but please don’t buy one because you think it’s better than other technology.