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Do’s and don’ts of disinfecting your smartphone

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As the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease continues to spread throughout the entire globe, the World Health Organization and the Philippines’ Department of Health recommends to frequently wash your hands and disinfect your frequently touched surfaces and objects.

This added precautionary measure definitely points towards cleaning your phone, amongst other things. As most people consider their smartphones as an extension of their body, this also means that their phone is constantly exposed to various surfaces — from kitchen tables, bathroom counters, to dirty floors.

Without our knowledge, our phones are already harboring several germs, which in turn pass onto our hands. As studies have shown, our phones actually carry 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.

But as easy as it is for your gadgets to carry germs, it is also easy to clean and disinfect it. In fact, there are different methods that you can use to effectively clean your device of any germ that may be lurking on the surface. Here are some do’s and don’ts that you can follow when cleaning your smartphone.

DO: Clean your phone at least once every day.

Because of our fondness for our phones, it is wise to prudently clean them every day at least once. As microbiology professor Philip Tierno advises, how often per day is on a case-to-case basis, depending on where you’ve been and how you handle your device.

You should definitely clean your phone several times on a busy day, like if you use your phone while at work or while riding the MRT. If you don’t use your device any time near mealtimes, a once-a-day scrubbing is enough to keep the germs at bay.

DON’T: Submerge your phone in a cleaning agent.

It may be tempting to simply put your device in a cleaning solution and let the solution do its magic. But resist the urge because doing so risks moisture seeping into your cable ports and pinhole mics. The same goes for spraying liquids directly onto your phone.

Moisture seeping into your device may potentially ruin its interior components. Even “waterproof” phones are only resistant up to a point and are still susceptible to water damage. If these liquids seep beyond the water damage sensor that most phones have, you may no longer be covered by the warranty for any damages caused.

DO: Use a microfiber cloth or an alcohol wipe.

Instead of directly applying the cleaning agent to your device, using a soft cloth — preferably microfiber and lint-free — to wipe down your phone is the easiest and most cost-effective method of cleaning. DON’T use abrasive cloths and paper towels.  Dampen the soft cloth with warm water or 70% isopropyl alcohol and smoothly but thoroughly wipe your phone’s surfaces. Wipe it with a dry cloth afterwards or let your phone airdry.

Additionally, wipe your device with gentle and light motions. Avoid using harsh and abrupt swipes which may potentially cause unintended scratching on the screen.

Cleaning wipes like alcohol wipes are also a safe way of disinfecting your phone. Apple also approves the use of a Clorox Disinfectant Wipe for cleaning their devices. Whether using a dampened cloth or a cleaning wipe, be careful when wiping near openings to prevent seeping.

DON’T: Use any harsh solvents.

Stronger chemicals don’t always translate into better in the cleaning game. Harsh chemicals may potentially damage your device or react with the material. For example, using stronger alcohol (higher than 70%) will strip down the oleophobic coating of your phone, which prevents fingerprints from smudging the screen.

Aside from strong alcohol, do not use the following chemicals when disinfecting your phone:

1.) Bleach
2.) Ammonia
3.) Hydrogen peroxide
4.) Aerosol spray cleaners
5.) Other household cleaners
6.) Harsh solvents like acetone and benzene
7.) Abrasive powders

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DO: Consider using an ultraviolet light sanitizer.

If you have extra cash in hand and want to take phone cleaning to the next level, you may want to look into an ultraviolet light sanitizer, like the one offered by PhoneSoap. This handy box bathes your phone or anything that fits (like a phone case or maybe your car keys) with UV-C light that breaks down viruses and bacteria, claiming to kill 99.99% of germs.

The best thing is, the PhoneSoap UV Sanitizer doubles as a power bank because of its ergonomically built-in battery. This way, you can sanitize your phone on the go, anywhere you go.

A UV sanitizer is a more expensive method of cleaning your phone, but it is something you should invest in if you’re looking for convenience and effectiveness in disinfecting your device.

DON’T: Forget about your cellphone case and phone accessories.

Thoroughly cleaning your phone is no use if you simply sleeve it back with a dirty phone case. Your case has just as much (or maybe even more) bacteria than your phone because it is what’s in frequent contact with dirty surfaces.

Compared to cleaning your phone, cleaning your phone case is generally easier and has less considerations. Submerging or spraying the sleeve with cleaning agents and coarser brushing are safe, but this still depends on the material of the phone case.

As you are cleaning your case, make sure to sometimes include your phone accessories to the mix, like your charger, your earphones, and different cables. These are often forgotten when talking about cleaning a device.

DO: Wash your hands frequently.

While on the topic of cleaning your phone — your third hand — to get rid of bacterias and other germs, don’t forget to also clean your actual hands in the process. Proper hand sanitation is our best defense against the coronavirus in the individual sense.

Additionally, if your hands are clean, less germs are transferred to your phone where they can propagate and multiply. And whether or not you touch your phone that is infected with bacteria, those are no match whenever you properly and thoroughly wash your hands.

In this trying time of a coronavirus pandemic, it doesn’t harm to do these additional precautionary measures like disinfecting your phone and other surfaces. With these easy-to-do steps, we can make sure that our households remain coronavirus-free.

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