Posted on April 30, 2020
CREDO Tip: Your phone is dirty. Here’s how to clean it.
It’s a gross reality: Our phones are filthy. We touch dirty surfaces all day while checking email and social media. We cough and sneeze on our devices. And, don’t be shy, we probably bring our phones into the bathroom, too.
Studies show that our phones carry around 17,000 bacteria per square inch — 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. As public health experts repeatedly remind us to wash our hands and avoid touching our faces during the coronavirus pandemic, sanitizing our phones is another good way to keep our hands and fingers clean during this outbreak.
The CDC considers phones “high touch surfaces” that require frequent cleaning, so now is probably a great time to start disinfecting our phones on the regular. Here are some tips to clean your phone.
Prevention: Wash your hands & avoid touching your face
A great way to clean your phone is to keep it from getting too dirty in the first place. That means ensuring your hands stay clean throughout the day and that you try your best to avoid touching your face.
While the CDC acknowledges that you may be able to contract COVID-19 from touching surfaces and touching your face, it’s not thought to be the way the virus spreads. However, the agency reminds us that the virus may remain viable for hours and up to days on some surfaces, so taking precautions to wash your hands with soap and water and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth will help keep your phone clean.
Disinfect your devices
Now it’s time to clean your phone or tablet. Unplug and power down your device. Use a good, lint-free microfiber or lens cleaning cloth to remove oil and fingerprints. If your phone case is waterproof, wash it thoroughly with soap and water and let it dry completely.
Don’t spray any disinfecting liquids directly on your device, as they may damage your device or its coating. The liquid may also find its way into open spaces that aren’t sealed completely and could damage your phone or tablet. Instead, dampen the corner of your cloth in your cleaning solution and gently wipe your phone.
Apple suggests using 70 percent isopropyl alcohol or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes (which may be in short supply in your area), but avoid bleach and don’t submerge your phone in liquids. Here are additional detailed instructions from Apple depending on the model of your device.
Samsung also recommends using a “hypochlorous acid-based solution (containing 50-80ppm) or an alcohol-based solution (containing more than 70% ethanol or isopropyl alcohol)” gently applied to your device using a microfiber cloth. Android Central has some additional tips on cleaning and disinfecting your Android phone, including phone cleaning kits and disinfectant wipes. Sammobile has a detailed guide on cleaning your phone to protect against coronavirus.
Donald Trump caused a firestorm recently when he very wrongly and dangerously suggested that ingesting disinfectants or using UV light on the human body could kill coronavirus. Health experts quickly issued statements condemning Trump’s deadly advice.
Here is Dr. Birx's reaction when President Trump asks his science advisor to study using UV light on the human body and injecting disinfectant to fight the coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/MVno5X7JMA
— Daniel Lewis (@Daniel_Lewis3) April 24, 2020
However, UV light can be used to kill germs on surfaces. According to the National Academies of Sciences, UV light can “probably” kill the virus that causes COVID-19, as it’s been proven to kill other coronaviruses in the past.
Many manufacturers of UV light sanitizers have seen a huge uptick in sales recently, but how do they work? Philip Tierno, a clinical professor in the department of pathology at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, says that UV-C light “has a range of effectiveness, which interferes and destroys the nucleic acids of bacteria and other microbes” and works best on smooth surfaces. He warns that if a device has buttons, nooks or food particles, they may not be sanitized.
Interested in purchasing a UV light sanitizer? Here’s a rundown of some popular models from NBC News.