Coronavirus cleaning tips for your smartphones

Technology | Alison Bowen 18 May 2020

Beyond our faces, what do we touch all the time? Our phones.

While Covid-19 most frequently spreads among close contacts via respiratory droplets and transmission to persons from contaminated surfaces has not been documented, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health officials encourage cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces because the virus can remain viable for hours to days on a variety of materials.

This includes your phone.

Cleaning, the CDC specified, refers to the removal of germs, dirt and impurities. It does not kill germs, but by removing them does lower the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting, on the other hand, refers to using chemicals to kill germs.

The agency recommends using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Regarding Apple products, the company has issued recommendations for cleaning.

All products, according to Apple, can be gently cleaned with a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox disinfecting wipe. Wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces, like the display, keyboard or other exterior surfaces.

The key to remember? Do not use bleach.

And avoid getting moisture in any openings of the phone.

Do not submerge the product in a cleaning product.

Apple does note that excessive wiping could cause damage.

If you get liquid inside the phone, Apple recommends getting help from an authorized service provider or Apple store.

And don't forget about your iPhone case.

Apple provides specific instructions for several types - silicone, leather, clear - but generally, remove the iPhone from the case and use a clean cloth to wipe the inside. Different cleaners can be used on different materials.

Sheila Leen, an advanced practice nurse at Rush University, pointed out that we take phones everywhere, including to the bathroom.

"At least toilet seats usually receive a regular cleaning," she said.

Sanitize once a day, and clean it an extra time if dropped, placed on a public surface or coughed on.

Leen suggested smartphone wipes, a damp and soft microfiber cloth with 60 percent water and 40 percent alcohol, or the product PhoneSoap, which says it uses ultraviolet light to clean 99.9 percent of germs.

Wipe the back and sides, she added, and remove it from its case at least once a month to clean that too.

Chicago Tribune (TNS)

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