You're washing your hands countless times a day to try to ward off the coronavirus, but what about washing that extension of your hand and breeding ground for germs – your phone?
In a study by Dscout, the average person touches their phone over 2,600 times per day. To make matters worse, The Seattle Times reported that the average phone is covered in 25,127 bacteria per square inch, making it dirtier than the flushing device on toilets in public restrooms. Tests done by scientists show that the virus can live for two to three days on plastic and stainless steel, making us vulnerable to catch the virus through the use of our phones, which often touches our faces as we answer calls. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cleaning all "high-touch” surfaces daily, including phones, keyboards and tablet computers to protect yourself from catching the coronavirus.
But cleaning your phone improperly can damage it, so in order to protect yourself from the coronavirus and your phone from damage, here are some tips you should take in cleaning your tech devices. First, you will want to avoid getting moisture inside it or scratching the surface. Don't spray cleaners directly on the phone, don't dunk it in cleaning solutions, don't spray it with compressed-air devices used to clean keyboards and avoid rubbing it with abrasive materials.
Instead, start by turning off the phone and unplugging all cables. Your phone shouldn't be charging as you clean.
You can use wipes with 70% alcohol, or kolonya, a popular disinfectant among Turks, which you can get at the drugstore or in local shops to wipe down your phone. Apple, which has cautioned against using household cleaners on its phones, says to do that "gently.” American telecommunication company AT&T has further recommended wringing out disinfectant wipes before using them on a phone.
You can also use soft cloths to clean the phone, like a microfiber cleaning cloth or the cloths used to clean camera lenses or your glasses. Google says you can dip the cloth in soap and water, as long as you're careful not to get moisture in the phone. AT&T says paper towels work, too. You can spray them with disinfectant. Again, don't spray the phone itself.
Samsung, the world's biggest phone manufacturer, says it's offering a free phone-sanitizing service involving UV light inside U.S. Samsung stores and service centers. It will expand to other countries in the next few weeks.
The phone-cleaning step is one of many measures public-health authorities are recommending to try to slow the spread of the virus, which has infected 137,000 people worldwide and killed more than 5,000. Most patients have only mild or moderate symptoms, but the elderly and people with existing health conditions are particularly vulnerable.
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