Most of us know by now that washing our hands is the best way to stop germs from spreading. We’re careful to cover our mouths when we sneeze and clean our homes regularly to prevent bacteria from building up.
But it's important to clean your phone. As it turns out, it's a back-pocket germ-spreader.
According to a poll by yougov.co.uk, over half of all British people use their phone on the toilet – with just under 10 per cent saying they do it 'always'.
That’s over six and a half million people! This means that as much as we scrub our hands, the second we take our phone out to make a call, we’re potentially spreading germs and bacteria to other surfaces – and other people.
So, if you’re one of the millions who love a scroll in the bathroom – or these statistics have just made you feel a bit sick – here’s how you can clean your phone and protect yourself from germs.
How often should I clean my phone?
Last week, health experts appeared on Good Morning America to answer the nation’s questions about cleaning - in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Dr Mel, one of the experts, advised wiping down your phone “as many times as you wash your hands today, you can consider wiping down your phone".
How to clean an iPhone
Before the recent coronavirus outbreak, Apple had advised its customers not to use antibacterial products on their devices. They said that the alcohol in the disinfectant could cause the oil-resistant coating on the screen to wear away.
But as first reported by the Wall Street Journal, this month their guidelines have changed. They now read, '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.'
However, be careful. They are quick to add that if any excess liquid makes its way into your phone and causes liquid damage, the repairs won’t be covered under their warranty or protection plans.
Clorox wipes are currently sold out on Amazon, but these 70 per cent alcohol wipes are still in stock and do the same job.
Apple also advise the following:
- Use only a soft, lint free cloth. Abrasive ones, towels, paper towels, or similar items might cause damage.
- Unplug all power sources to your phone during the clean.
- Don’t spray aerosols, or any cleaners directly onto the item.
How to clean an android phone
Similar to Apple’s advice, androidcentral suggest that bleach, vinegar and other harsh disinfectants are successful at cleaning the sides and back of your phone.
- Use a Q-tip to gently swab around the tiny holes in your device – such as the speaker grills, earpiece and headphone jack.
- But avoid wiping your screen (or the back of your phone if it’s made of glass) with these. They’ll eat away at the oleophobic coating on the screen that prevents fingerprint smudges. But if your phone is older, this coating might have already worn away – or you might not care about it!
- If that’s the case – then go for it, wipe away! But make sure that the liquid doesn’t get into any of the electrical holes and that your phone dries completely before you re-apply any cases.
So with this advice in mind, next time you go to the bathroom - why not leave your phone in your pocket?
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Grace Walsh is a Features Writer for Goodto.com, covering breaking news health stories during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as lifestyle and entertainment topics. She has worked in media since graduating from the University of Warwick in 2019 with a degree in Classical Civilisation and a year spent abroad in Italy. It was here that Grace caught the bug for journalism, after becoming involved in the university’s student newspaper and radio station.
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