The recent COVID-19 outbreak has meant that we’ve all had to take extra care to make sure that we’re not spreading the virus, such as frequent handwashing and staying at home where possible.
It’s also important to make sure that we’re keeping commonly touched surfaces as clean as possible, and what’s probably the number one surface that we all touch the most? Our phones!
It’s something that you may not have considered, but think how much time you spend on your phone, especially as we use them more and more to keep in touch with loved ones.
Studies have shown that all kinds of bacteria can live on our smartphones, with one report from the University of Arizona even claiming that our phones could contain as many as 17,000 bacterial gene copies, which is ten times more than most toilet seats!
Of course, not all bacteria is harmful, but some definitely is, including that which causes the COVID-19 virus, so do you need to be cleaning your phone, and what’s the best way to do so?
Should I Be Cleaning My Phone?
In theory, washing your hands as per the government guidelines should be enough to prevent you from contracting the virus from your phone, but think about how many times you touch your phone in between handwashing.
You might not think it’s that much, but it’s actually estimated that we touch our smartphones as much as 2,617 times a day!
With that in mind, it definitely makes sense to be taking steps to clean your phone and phone case to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
How Do I Clean My Phone?
First and foremost, you don’t want to do anything that could potentially damage your phone and many manufacturers have been updating their support pages with cleaning advice for their devices.
For example, Apple are recommending that you use a “slightly damp lint-free cloth” to wipe your phone clean. They previously advised against using disinfectant wipes but now recommend using 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes.
However, according to our Head of Compliance, Ken Parker: “While the Apple recommendation of 70% will be sufficient to tackle bacteria, it will still have a high water content, so should be used sparingly and not into any openings on the phone such as the microphone openings etc. People also need to careful of using it on any porous sections of the phone design as this may leave some staining.
“We use isopropyl 99.9% to clean phones professionally in the industry. This percentage means that it can be used internally, but also at board level, to remove corrosion from the boards within the phones. The isopropyl at this level (99.9%) also has the benefit that it evaporates as it is used, so it does not activate the water damage indicator paper inside the phones.”
Finally, make sure to take it easy and don’t over scrub your screen so that you don’t cause any damage!
How Often Should I Clean My Phone?
The most likely way that your phone is going to contains harmful COVID-causing bacteria is if someone with the virus cough or sneezes, causing tiny droplets to land on the device.
With that in mind, if you’ve been in contact with anyone doing a lot of coughing or sneezing, it makes sense to give your phone a clean.
Other than this, exactly how often you need to clean your phone will depend on how much you use it, but use common sense and make sure that you’re doing it regularly.
Of course, if you’re washing your hands frequently, then you have less need to clean your phone so frequently, perhaps just once or twice a day.
The truth is unless you’re in very close contact with someone who has the disease, the chance of catching COVID-19 from your phone is actually fairly low, but that doesn’t mean that, just like in all other aspects of our daily lives, you shouldn’t be taking the necessary precautions.