With the recent outbreak of COVID-19 to worry about, preventative action is more crucial than ever.
You know you need to wash your hands thoroughly after touching anything. Plus, we’re all staying at home and avoiding other people as much as we can with social distancing.
However, even if you recently took the time to spring clean your home with bleach and disinfectant, you might be missing something.
Your phone is a hub of germs and bacteria. With touch screens and grime-gathering cases, phones present a potential breeding ground for microbes that many of us overlook. Studies prove that cellphones carry everything from bacteria to viruses and fungi.
So, how do you make sure that your phone is safe?
You can start by cleaning it.
Do you need to clean your phone?
If you’re washing your hands constantly and using hand sanitizer on a regular basis, how worried do you need to be about cleaning your phone?
According to a 2019 survey, the average person touches their cellphone over 2,500 times each day. Because of this, wiping down your phone should be a common part of your routine.
The only problem? Dunking your phone in the bath or covering it in bleach is never a good idea. Even if your iPhone is more water-proof than ever, you need to ensure that you’re following the right guidelines. The good news is that a lot of phone manufacturers are now providing recommendations on how to clean your phone safely.
Disinfecting your phone: Stick with wipes
Let’s start with the basics; if you touch your phone after touching a grocery cart or public door handle, you might think you should spritz it with hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol. Don’t.
Alcohol in its purest form strips the hydrophobic coatings from your device, which help to keep oil and water from damaging your display. Even creating your diluted alcohol mix isn’t really a good idea, as if you get the recipe wrong, you could destroy your phone.
Apple recommends using Clorox wipes or something similar to disinfect your device. On the other hand, AT&T offers the advice of spraying a non-abrasive disinfectant on your screen, then using a soft cloth to wipe it down.
If you can’t find wipes that you feel comfortable using on your phone, then it might be better to stick with something more high-tech. Companies are now producing UV lightboxes and devices that can kill up to 99. 99% of all the bacteria and germs on your smartphone. These products haven’t been tested for use for COVID-19 yet, but they’re pretty good at killing unwanted germs.
Other cleaning tips for your smartphone
If you need some extra help keeping your smartphone clean, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
For instance, fingerprint smudges are some of the hardest problems to prevent with smartphones, because your skin is constantly producing oils, and you can’t control their secretion. Every time you pick up your phone, you’re exposing it to new fingerprints.
The safest way to banish these marks is to use a microfiber cloth. If your screen is really grubby, you can use a small amount of distilled water to dampen the cloth before wiping down your screen. Don’t squirt water directly at your screen, as that could risk water damage.
You can use the same strategy for cleaning the back and sides of your device too.
If sand, lint, and other small pieces of dirt get stuck in your phone, the best option is to use some tape. You can lay scotch tape over the creases in your phone’s design, or your case, and roll it up to gently remove lint from ports. This is a great way to get rid of unwanted dirt fast.
If you have a problem with makeup, then you could get your phone it’s own makeup remover. Whenever you answer a call with a face full of makeup, your foundation and powder often sticks to the screen. Using your standard makeup remover as a screen cleaner isn’t a good idea, however.
Standard makeup remover contains some chemicals that could easily strip important components from your phone. Instead, use a cleaning agent designed specifically for phones. This is likely to be something that contains no chlorine, alcohol, phosphates, or ammonia.
Washing Waterproof phones: Is it possible?
These days, phones are becoming increasingly durable.
After all, we use them for everything from communication to wellness – they need to stand the test of time.
Companies like Apple and Samsung know that you might occasionally drop your device or splash it with water, so they want to help protect you. This means that many phones are now water-resistant and rated for things like IP67 and above.
Although these phones, like the Galaxy S, or iPhone 10, can withstand submersion in water, it’s better to avoid dunking your phone on purpose. Using a very slightly damp cloth on your phone will reduce the risk of water getting into the ports and other components of your device that could cause damage
Remember, even if you’re only getting your phone slightly damp, you still need to make sure that you pat all the components dry with a clean cloth afterward.
When they’re creating “waterproof” phones, today’s manufacturers aren’t looking to build a device that you can take with you for a swim. Instead, it’s about having some peace of mind if you are exposed to water.
The things you should never use to clean your phone
Now you know how to clean your phone safely, let’s cover some of the things that you should never use as a disinfectant. Although it’s tempting to use whatever you have lying around the house when you’re cleaning, the wrong products could seriously damage your device.
Here are our top products to avoid:
- Window cleaner: Window cleaner is great for mirrors and glass. However, you shouldn’t be using it on your phone. Most newer phones have protective coatings that help to defend them against oils. However, harsh cleaners like window cleaners strip this protection.
- Kitchen cleaner: Your screen might be scratch-resistant, but it will have a hard time holding up against the abrasive cleaners that you use in your kitchen. These products are usually packed full of chemicals that can harm your device.
- Paper towels: Paper towels aren’t a good substitute for a microfiber cloth. The paper will usually shred, which means that you end up with more debris on your phone. Additionally, some paper towels are abrasive, which leads to more scratches on your screen.
- Rubbing alcohol: As we mentioned above, this product will wear the protective coatings on your phone away faster. Make sure that you check for alcohol in the ingredients of any phone cleaner that you’re using.
- Makeup remover: Once again, these products often contain chemicals that are too harsh for your sensitive smartphone screen. You may be able to find dedicated products that are better at removing makeup, however.
- Compressed air: A phone is a delicate thing, but compressed air forces air into it at an incredible rate. Forcing an intense amount of air into your device can cause damage, particularly to things like your microphone.
- Hand soap and dish soap: The only way to use these products is to combine them with a lot of water, then slightly dampen a microfiber cloth. Most phone companies will suggest keeping water away from your phone.
- Vinegar: Vinegar might be a great natural cleaner for various parts of your home, but it’s no good for your phone. Remember that the acids in this product can strip the coating of your phone, so avoid it completely.
How to keep your cell phone clean
Most of us forget about cleaning our phones until something happens that makes us rethink our approach to germs and disinfectant.
In the age of COVID-19, many of us have had to reconsider our approach to sanitation. However, even when the pandemic is over, most experts agree that you should be cleaning your cell phone with a microfiber cloth at least once a day.
You don’t need to do a full phone deep-clean every day, but you should have a microfiber cloth handy to wipe away any oils, grime, or smudges that might build up on your phone while you’re using it.
At the same time, it’s worth committing to some strategies that should help to keep your smartphone clean. Even if you’re finding the time to clean and disinfect your phone on a regular basis, it can quickly gather additional germs and bacteria again.
Here are some ways to reduce the potential dirt on your phone:
- Keep your device out of the bathroom: We know how boring it can be sitting on the toilet and taking care of “business.” Surveys suggest that around 3 in 4 Americans scroll, text, and call when they’re in the restroom. Unfortunately, while you should be washing your hands thoroughly after using the toilet, taking your phone with you to the bathroom often means that it ends up covered in dangerous germs.
- Avoid scrolling when you travel: You know you shouldn’t be using your phone when you’re driving. However, what are the rules when it comes to public transit? If you can manage it, you should avoid using your phone when you’re commuting on public transportation. That’s because the germs that you come into contact with on handles and railings can often cling to your phone screen. Keep your phone in your pocket when you’re on the move or clean it after use.
- Don’t use your device for recipes: There are plenty of great smartphone apps out there that can help you with things like recipes and cooking. However, if you’re preparing food and touching your phone at the same time, you could be exposed to cross-contamination. This is particularly problematic if you’re handling raw ingredients and meat. If you need to use your device for help with cooking, look for an app that can read your recipes out to you.
- Strap it on at the gym: When you’re going for your afternoon run or visiting the gym, make sure that you’re not clutching your device all the time, or letting rest on equipment. Place your phone in a dedicated armband designed for work-outs, or keep it safely in a utility pocket, so it doesn’t get damaged while you work out.
Cleaning your phone the safe way
Though many smartphones are more durable and resilient these days, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions when cleaning your device. Remember that smartphones are still relatively fragile items that contain a lot of intricate details.
Exposing your device to too much water, chemicals, and other abrasive substances could strip it of its crucial components, and mean that you earn less when it comes to trading your device in.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your product and use the tips above for some extra guidance. You can clean your phone without harming it; you just need to be cautious.