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How to disinfect your phone the right way and keep it germ-free

Our phones are germ magnets. We touch contaminated surfaces like elevator buttons and door handles then transfer those nasty bugs to our smartphones, where viruses can live for days or weeks at a time.

In fact, our phones can carry 17,000 bacteria per square inch — 10 times more than a toilet seat! — and we touch our phones more than 2,500 times a day with every tap, type and swipe.

That’s why we recommend you disinfect your phone on a regular basis to stay healthy and keep your devices clean. In this week’s tip, we’ll show you the right way to clean your phone to keep it germ free.

Prevention: Wash your hands & avoid touching your face

The CDC considers phones “high touch surfaces” that require frequent cleaning, but how can we prevent our phones from getting too dirty in the first place? Washing our hands and avoiding touching our face.

The CDC reminds us that viruses, like the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, 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. Here are some tips on how to properly wash your hands.

Disinfect your devices the right way

To rid your phones of germs and grime, you won’t need to use astringent chemicals (which may harm your phone) or fancy devices to keep your smartphone clean. Everything you’ll need you probably already have around your home. Here are some steps that we recommend you take to clean your phone and other devices:

  1. Unplug and power down your device. 
  2. Remove your phone case, if you have one. If your case is waterproof, wash it thoroughly with soap and water, and let it dry completely. 
  3. Use a good, lint-free microfiber or lens cleaning cloth to remove oil and fingerprints. 
  4. Don’t spray any disinfecting liquids directly on your device, as they may damage your device or its coating. 
  5. Gently use a Clorox Disinfecting Wipe or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe to disinfect your phone. You can also spray a 70% alcohol solution on your cloth, but not directly on your device. Do not use bleach and don’t submerge your phone in liquids. (Read more from Apple.) 
  6. Samsung 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. 
  7. Allow your device to air dry for five minutes. 
  8. If you want, you can purchase a UV-C sterilization device which works by shining a type of ultraviolet light that can destroy the genetic material of viruses and bacteria.