It’s one thing to stop touching your face. It’s another to stop touching the things that touch your face. Your phone is filthy. And it needs regular cleaning, too.
How to clean your phone to help protect against harmful germs and viruses
The coronavirus is here. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to keep your hands clean and off your face, but it’s hard to maintain constant vigilance. Keeping your phone sanitized is another smart way to keep germs off your fingertips.
Your phone is a high-touch surface, which could make it a carrier of the virus. But cleaning your phone thoroughly is not as straightforward as it might seem. There are all sorts of delicate glass and intricate protective cases.
Any sort of moisture can interfere with your phone’s functionality. Smartphone users must avoid using spray cleaners or heavy-duty products, according to a recommendation from Apple. No bleach, no aerosol sprays. You need your phone to work, even if you want it clean.
Also, don’t dunk your phone into any sort of liquid, anti-bacterial or otherwise. It won’t end well for either of you. And this probably goes without saying any more.
A gentle wipe with a product that has 70 percent isopropyl alcohol will do just fine. Apple recommends Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, and the C.D.C. says household disinfectants registered by the Environmental Protection Agency are effective.
Wear disposable gloves to clean, and wash your hands thoroughly after you’re done. Like your phone, reusable gloves might harbor virus particles, rendering them effectively useless. And don’t forget your phone case. Wipe it down, in and out, through and through. Let it dry before reassembling it.
You might also consider changing a bit of your behavior. Share photos through texts, instead of passing the phone around, and using devices like headphones and technology like Bluetooth to keep your phone away from your face.
This might be the best thing you can do all day. This coronavirus outbreak is fast-moving and research is, by nature, slow to catch up. As a result, the C.D.C. does not yet know exactly how long the virus can cling to a surface, but evidence suggests it could be “hours to days.”
And phones are, well, gross. A 2017 study was published that high-level bacterial contamination of secondary school students’ mobile phones is real. Germs found a host of bacteria, viruses, and pathogens on 27 phones owned by teenagers. The scientists wrote that they “hypothesize that this may play a role in the spread of infectious agents in the community.”
Safe is always better than sorry.