Disinfect your phone before its too late. Here’s how to do it!

Time to take smartphone hygiene seriously

Person holdding a clean phone during Coronavirus Outbreak

Coronavirus has affected a lot of countries by now and is increasingly becoming a major health concern worldwide.

In the wake of this, the WHO (World Health Organization) and other medical professionals are recommending various preventive measures to avoid being affected by the renamed COVID-19 virus.

Those measures include covering one’s mouth while sneezing or coughing and washing hands regularly and constantly as hands can introduce the virus to one’s system upon their contact with the face.

Surprisingly, none of those preventive measures represent instructions for using smartphones especially considering the fact that around 3.5 Billion people use smartphones worldwide which is roughly 45 percent of the entire world’s population.

So, this begs the question: Do smartphones need to be cleaned regularly to disinfect them from the virus? If so, how do you make sure they stay safe to use.

Daily usage attracts a lot of germs and bacteria on your smartphone and so it requires to be properly cleaned which is especially important now with the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.

According to research, COVID-19 or coronavirus can live on glass surfaces from two hours up to 9 days. And since smartphone screens are technically glass surfaces, cleaning them is of paramount importance.

Albeit, before learning how to effectively clean your smartphone, note that you shouldn’t do this too often since too much scrubbing and cleaning isn’t good for the different coatings on the display and on glass backs as they could potentially wear off.

According to Apple:

“Your iPhone has a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic—oil repellent—coating. Cleaning products and abrasive materials will diminish the coating and might scratch your iPhone.” 

Update: Apple now says it’s okay to disinfect your iPhone using disinfecting wipes or isopropyl alcohol. This is enlisted on Apple’s support page for cleaning iPhones.

“Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your iPhone. Don’t use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any openings, and don’t submerge your iPhone in any cleaning agents.”

In normal conditions, you are expected to clean your devices at least and not more than once a week. But as coronavirus looms over us, and as it comes with serious consequences, it’s important that you do it once per day.

However, as per the structural integrity of your smartphones, they are not built to withstand harsh liquids like alcohol and rough cloth materials while cleaning. Instead, other methods exist that are specific to cleaning delicate surfaces like screens on smartphones.

Here are some methods to clean a smartphone:

Wipe with warm soapy water and an ultra microfibre cloth

The most common method to clean your smartphone is using a damp microfiber cloth dipped or soaked in warm soapy water and wiping it gently.

It’s also very cost-effective since the only thing you will have to pay for is a microfiber cloth, which, conceivably you won’t already have lying around.

Now, with microfiber; note that they are of two kinds. One with a furry appearance called microfibre (it doesn’t really have a distinct name) which is used for general purpose cleaning and traps dirt effectively. You don’t want that while cleaning your smartphone’s screen because previously trapped dirt on the cloth can scratch the screen.

Instead, look for an ultra microfiber cloth. These are the ones often used by opticians and sunglass stores. Here’s a pack of six available just for $8.

Apple has offered some tips to help clean an iPhone without risking damaging it.

  • Unplug all cables and turn off your iPhone.
  • Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth—for example, a lens cloth.
  • If the material is still present, use a soft, lint-free cloth with warm soapy water.
  • Avoid getting moisture in openings.
  • Don’t use cleaning products or compressed air.

With water-resistant smartphones that have an IP68 rating, you can immerse them in a bowl of water for a few minutes to clean them. But don’t do this very often.

Use water + alcohol with a microfibre cloth

Using alcohol is the most effective way to kill coronavirus. WHO recommends using alcohol-based hand wash or sanitizers, too, to disinfect hands.

Similar to how you would clean using warm water, drip some drops of alcohol on the microfiber cloth and wipe the screen properly covering the entire screen and back real estate.

Make sure, however, to use a mixture of alcohol and water that has an alcohol concentration level of less than 50%. This will ensure the oleophobic coating does not come off. And since alcohol is a strong liquid, try to limit its usage to once per week and use only warm water to clean your smartphone other days.

You can reapply the oleophobic coating easily if it does come off (looks like skin peeling off). Just refer to iFixit’s guide on reapplying oleophobic coating on smartphone screens. You can get replacements here.

If by chance, the oleophobic coating does come off (looks like skin peeling off), you can reapply it easily. Just refer to iFixit’s guide on reapplying oleophobic coating on smartphone screens.

Use screen cleaners

Whoosh! Screen Cleaner Kit- Available on Amazon

Using alcohol or warm water is fine. But to absolutely ensure nothing goes south, you can also use dedicated screen cleaners intended for smartphones and other screens.

They are a little expensive than the other two options I mentioned above but are worth the buck if you strongly plan on keeping the virus at bay.

And while Apple does not encourage their use on iPhones, they are fine to use occasionally.

Here’s a really great screen cleaning liquid that I found on Amazon. It’s available in a bottle so it must last some time and you can easily smear it on your smart phone’s screen using a microfibre cloth.

Use a UV smartphone sanitizer

Last but not the least, you can order a UV sanitizer online; preferably PhoneSoap’s. It uses UV light rays to eliminate bacteria on your smartphone. All you have to do is place the phone inside the compartment (which, by the way, looks amazingly futuristic) and wait for the magic to happen.

PhoneSoap 3 Smartphone disinfectant using UV lights.

PhoneSoap says its device kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria persisting on your smartphone’s screen and that is clinically proven. The device also has a slot that facilitates charging the phone while it’s disinfecting. Moreover, you can also place other items that fit into the PhoneSoap’s device compartment including credit cards, small jewelry, etc.

Most people do not prefer this as it’s quite expensive in comparison with the apparatus used in the previous tips. It’s available for $119 on Amazon.

This, above anything else, will definitely ensure total COVID-19 virus elimination from your smartphone.

Coronavirus isn’t as dangerous as it seems, provided you religiously concur the necessary precautionary measures provided by healthcare officials or your very own doctor. Among the 107, 802 cases of coronavirus worldwide, 3, 661 were fatal. That’s only 3% which means there’s room for precautions and only by taking precautions will you be able to combat the threat of coronavirus.

It’s essential to keep your smartphones clean since they are a peculiar aspect of our lives and staying away is not an option. Ensuring proper disinfection may lead you to a healthier life ahead.

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