One precaution you can take to help avoid COVID-19, not to mention colds and influenza, is to wipe down frequently touched surfaces with disinfectants. This includes devices like smartphones and computers, but a recent survey showed that nearly 25% of people never cleaned their phones — even though they are full of bacteria.
Protect your screen
Perhaps the reason for the hesitation is that cleaning phones can be tricky. Many products can damage the phone, especially the screen, and the list of what not to use to clean a phone is long.
- Do not use window and kitchen cleaners, as they may damage the protective coating on your screen.
- Do not use rubbing alcohol, paper towels, compressed air, dish soap or vinegar. All of these can damage your phone: Paper towels can scratch your screen, and vinegar could damage its coating.
- Do not use hand sanitizer on your phone screen, but do sanitize your hands before touching your phone.
Clean your phone safely
To be safe, check the instructions for your phone for safe cleaning products as they can vary by manufacturer. Harsh cleaners can eventually damage the screen or internal components. In general, follow these tips.
- Power the phone down.
- Polish with a microfiber cloth to erase fingerprint smudges. This can be used on the screen, back and sides of your phone.
- Use a sanitizing wipe on the screen being careful to avoid openings. Wring the wipe out first if it is extremely wet.
- Air dry the phone for at least five minutes.
- Wipe down with a microfiber cloth again.
- Clean your phone case, too.
Do not use hand sanitizer on your phone screen, but do sanitize your hands before touching your phone.
Don’t forget to disinfect computers
Computers also need special attention when disinfecting the mouse, keyboard and mousepad. Again, it’s important to turn off the device and unplug it or remove batteries before cleaning.
- To clean the keyboard, first spray it with canned air to remove dirt, then use a wipe or cotton swabs to clean each key individually.
- Clean the exterior of your keyboard and all sides of your mouse.
- Be careful with monitors — do not use disinfecting wipes on them. Instead use a soft towel.
To protect yourself from bacteria that accumulate on your devices, clean your phone daily and always wash your hands before using your devices to keep them as clean and bacteria-free as possible.