Health officials are urging people to clean their phones often to help contain the spread of coronavirus.
We regularly touch surfaces with our hands, but perhaps the most frequently-handled item we use is our smartphones.
Authorities have already stated that the public should be washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice, or the national anthem), but what should you do when it comes to your phone?
Here, we take a look at how often you should clean your phone – and how to do so properly.
How long does coronavirus live on objects?
It’s currently unknown how long coronavirus can survive on objects, but studies related to viruses like Sars have shown that germs can live anything from a number of hours to several days, depending on the type of surface, and the temperature and humidity.
How often should you clean your phone?
A previous study carried out by Public Health England found faecal matter (which can cause gastrointestinal infections) on the most commonly touched surfaces – including smartphones. Which, let’s face it, is beyond gross.
Health experts speaking on Good Morning America have suggested that “as many times as you wash your hands today, you can consider wiping down your phone.”
William Keevil, a professor of environmental healthcare at the University of Southampton, also warned: “You could be washing your hands, but if you start touching your smartphone screen and then touch your face that is a potential route of infection.”
How should you clean your phone?
According to most major phone makers, like Apple and Samsung, you should avoid using alcohol, or antibacterial wipes.
The main concern is that harsh chemicals may damage the protective coating on your phone’s screen, which could in turn make it easier for germs to stick to the surface.
Instead, they recommend using a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth when the device is turned off. They suggest warm, soapy water, but highlight it’s important to avoid getting moisture in the charging port and other openings. Most modern phones are water-resistant, but do check beforehand!
You shouldn’t just clean the front screen. You have to thoroughly wipe the back, inside and edges of the phone as well.
For a deep clean, you’ll want to remove your phone from any case you might have it in, turn the phone off and unplug everything from it.
Products like ZEISS Smartphone Wipes will also do the job as they’re specifically designed for touchscreens.
Thoroughly cleaning the screen, sides and back with these kinds of wipes, and washing your hands properly, should all help keep germs to a minimum.
Another method which has been suggested is to use a UV light to kill bacteria.
Products like PhoneSoap, phone-sized tanning bed which blasts your phone with UV light, will also work wonders to sterilise the germs on your devices.
How should I clean my iPhone?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s been rather more difficult to clean an iPhone with Apple’s official guidance for years saying that cleaning the device with anything other than “a soft, lint-free cloth’ would damage it.
However, the tech giant has updated its official guidance to say that you can use alcohol wipes to clean an iPhone.
“Using a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or clorox disinfecting wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, non-porous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces,” says the guidance. “Don’t use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don’t submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents.”
Confirmed cases of the virus in the UK has now reached 319, while a fourth person has died from the disease. More than 111,600 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and 3,884 have died.
This article Coronavirus: How often should you clean your phone and how? originally appeared on www.standard.co.uk
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