Healthcare professionals are clear. To keep the coronavirus at bay, you should wash your hands regularly and avoid physical contact with others, especially in large crowds. To this end, hand sanitisers and liquid soap are selling out all over the world, sporting events and trade exhibitions are being cancelled or postponed and some countries are implementing a travel ban. But there’s one precaution you might have missed.
You might be washing and sanitising your hands several times a day, but are you then dirtying them again by reaching for a germ-encrusted phone? Perhaps you should try sanitising your smartphone too, but take care – using the wrong products could cause damage.
You don’t need anything exotic or expensive to clean your phone. According to Dr Lena Ciric, a microbiologist from University College London, you just need soap and a little water. First of all, switch your phone off and if you keep your phone in a case, remove it. Find a couple of non-abrasive cloths such as a J-cloth or a synthetic fibre cloth, and dampen one of them slightly.
Don’t soak it, as you don’t want to risk water running into your phone’s open ports such as the headphone or charging sockets. Wring it out if necessary. Now add a drop of liquid soap, or wipe a section of the cloth lightly over a bar of soap. Wipe it over your phone, front and back. Take care around the buttons and ports, as you don’t want to get these wet. When you’ve finished wiping down your phone, take the second cloth and wipe it dry.
Of course, you also need to repeat these steps with the case as well. There is no point cleaning your phone if you are just going to put it back into a germ-ridden case.
For a quicker, easier clean, use 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes, which can be bought from computer shops specifically for cleaning technology products.
Another way to keep your phone free from nasties is to use a case with built-in antimicrobial protection. There are several brands out there, and they’re made for a wide variety of smartphones. An antimicrobial case reduces the amount of microbes on your phone by up to 99.9%.