Do I really need to clean my phone?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are advising people to wash their hands often, to avoid touching their faces and to disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Those surfaces include your phone, which you probably touch multiple times a day — if not every hour.
“It’s presently unknown how long the novel coronavirus can survive on surfaces. ‘It’s possible, theoretically, for this to live on a smartphone. If you had it out and someone sneezed or coughed on it and then you handled the phone, you could pick up infection that way,’ says Daniel R. Kuritzkes, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Emma Hayhurst, a microbiologist at the University of South Wales, added, ‘We don’t need to be obsessively washing our phones right now. If people are coming into contact with coronavirus patients, then, yes. Wash your phone all the time. Not because there is evidence that it will transmit via a phone but because there is no evidence that it won’t.’”
So should you clean your phone? It’s all a matter of individual comfort.
How to clean your iPhone: Update from Apple
Previously, Apple warned against using regular, everyday cleaning products on iPhones and iPads to avoid damaging the coating on your beloved screen. However, Apple recently updated their guidelines confirm that it’s OK to use a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes for cleaning iPhones and iPads.
Apple says: “Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces. Don’t use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don’t submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents. Don’t use on fabric or leather surfaces.”
Apple still warns against aerosol sprays, ammonia, window cleaners, hydrogen peroxide, bleach, compressed air, and abrasives.
How to clean your iPhone: Update from Samsung
Samsung is telling Galaxy owners that it’s now OK to dampen a cloth with a disinfectant or alcohol-based solution and wipe gently. But do not apply liquid directly onto the phone.
Samsung is also offering a free Galaxy Sanitizing Service using UV light in some countries, including the United States.
The company said in a statement: “The Galaxy Sanitizing Service is being offered for free through official Samsung Service Center and Samsung Experience Stores in select countries currently and the service is being expanded continuously. It simply sanitizes the phone with UV-C light, no harsh cleaning chemicals required. These devices can be used to sanitize Galaxy phones, the Galaxy Watch, and the Galaxy Buds.”
How to clean your phone: The water and soap method
Many phone manufacturers, including Samsung, warn against using regular cleaning products on phones, as the substances can damage protective coatings. This method is best for phones with a high rating of water resistance. be careful ont he amount of water you use, however, as it can get into your electronics and ports.
What you’ll need:
- Soft, lint-free cloths like microfiber
- Distilled water
- Mild hand soap
- Cotton swabs
1. Power down the phone and remove any case or attachments.
2. In a container, make a warm solution of water and soap.
3. Wet a cloth with the solution (but don’t soak it) and wipe down the phone, avoiding ports and other openings.
4. Use dry cotton swabs around camera lenses, ports and other openings. If necessary, blow air with your mouth to dislodge dust and other particles. Never use compressed air (more on that below).
5. Allow the phone to dry completely before inserting it back into a case or plugging in any attachments.