You might be washing your hands countless times every day to try to protect yourself from the coronavirus. But what about that breeding ground for germs – your phone?
Tests done by scientists show that the virus can live for two to three days on plastic and stainless steel, Associated Press reports. With coronavirus being declared a world pandemic, cleaning all “high-touch” surfaces daily, including phones, keyboards and tablet computers is recommended.
But cleaning your phone improperly can damage it. You want to avoid getting moisture inside it or scratching the surface.
Don’t spray cleaners directly on the phone, don’t dunk it in cleaning solutions, don’t spray it with compressed-air devices used to clean keyboards and avoid rubbing it with abrasive materials.
Also read: Coronavirus: Make hand sanitizer at home
Instead, start by turning off the phone and unplugging all cables. Your phone shouldn’t be charging as you clean. You can use Clorox wipes or wipes with 70% alcohol, which you can get at the drugstore, to wipe down your phone.
Apple, which has cautioned against using household cleaners on its phones, says to do that “gently”. Others have further recommended wringing out disinfectant wipes before using them on a phone.
You can also use soft cloths to clean the phone, like a microfiber cleaning cloth or the cloths used to clean camera lenses or your glasses. Google says you can dip the cloth in soap and water, as long as you’re careful not to get moisture in the phone. Paper towels work, too, it is said. You can spray them with disinfectant. Again, don’t spray the phone itself.
Samsung, the world’s biggest phone manufacturer, has said it will be offering a free phone-sanitizing service involving UV light in Samsung stores and service centers in India in the next few weeks.
The phone-cleaning step is one of many measures public-health authorities are recommending to try to slow the spread of the virus, which has infected more than 100000 people worldwide and more than 70 in India. More than 5,000 have died.
Most patients have only mild or moderate symptoms, but the elderly and people with existing health conditions are particularly vulnerable.