Your mobile phone is now almost an extension of your hand. You probably touch your phone more than anything else, making it a high-touch surface. And this high-touch surface may shelter coronavirus and other viruses. Every time you touch a surface and then touch your smartphone, you have possibly transferred germs to your phone. If that surface happens to harbour Covid-19, you may have passed the virus on to your phone’s surface.
Leading international and national health organisations advise that to protect yourself against the novel coronavirus, you need to regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces. Hence, you should clean and disinfect your mobile phone regularly.
1) Importance of Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Phone
If you’ve used your phone after touching public surfaces, you should not only wash your hands but also sanitise and disinfect your phone. This is because, as you may be aware, the novel coronavirus or Covid-19 can travel up to 3 feet after a sneeze or cough and may come to rest on nearby surfaces. Also, if someone sneezes or coughs in their hand and then touches your phone, the infection may be passed on. And then when you touch your phone, the chain of Covid-19 transfer would be complete.
How do you know that the surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom have been disinfected?
2) Cleaning Your Mobile
Firstly, unplug and switch off the phone. Remove it from the phone cover. Then clean the phone screen and back using a microfibre or soft cloth to dislodge visible or loose dirt. You can deep-clean and disinfect it afterwards for better hygiene.
Most smartphone manufacturers suggest sanitising phones with disinfectant wipes, and recommend against using chemicals like bleach on phones. This is because strong chemicals may strip off the protective coating on phones that repels fingerprints, dirt, oil and water.
If you do not have disinfectant wipes, you can deep-clean your phone using a soapy solution. You first need to remove your phone from the phone case because the gap between the cover and the phone can also retain a lot of dirt and germs. Thereafter, lightly dampen a microfibre or soft cloth with water and regular household soap. Ensure the cloth is not dripping wet; just lightly moist. Gently rub the back cover and any hard, non-porous surfaces on your phone, including the phone screen. Avoid getting moisture into any ports or openings. Dry your phone with a clean microfibre cloth. Do check the instructions given in the phone’s user manual before cleaning your phone.
You may remove dirt and dust from the phone’s ports using a toothpick or earbuds.
3) How to Clean Your Phone Case
If you use a phone case to protect the phone from falls and dirt, you must deep-clean and disinfect it too, since that is the surface your hand touches, and which comes in contact with surfaces like tables, countertops, shelves, etc. Most phone cases are made of hard plastic or silicon. You can remove the phone from the case and keep it aside. Then soak the phone case in warm water for some time. Deep-clean it with a soft brush or microfibre cloth dipped in soapy water. Thoroughly clean every nook and cranny of the case. Let it dry completely before putting your phone back in.
4) Protecting Your Phone from Harbouring Coronavirus
As far as possible, when you are using public transport, like in a bus or train, try using the phone only when you are seated and there are lesser chances of your hands touching the support handle or seat head. If you are in a crowded place, avoid keeping your phone in your hand, lest someone sneeze or cough on it.
Bathrooms and toilets are germ hotspots for obvious reasons, especially public restrooms. Keep your phone in the bag or pocket when using a public washroom. Also, if possible, even at home, do your tweeting and other social media posting after you come out of the toilet. No need to use it while on the throne.
Try to limit the number of people touching or using your phone, reducing the chances of multiple hands touching it and spreading the coronavirus.
If you are cooking with raw produce such as raw meat, fish, poultry, etc., try listening to the recipe instead of scrolling through it on the phone in the kitchen. This is to protect against cross-contamination from the produce.
Avoid placing down the phone on surfaces in public or common areas such as tables, countertops, chairs, etc., because being high-touch surfaces, they are likely to harbour the coronavirus and other infections.
5) How Often You Should Disinfect Your Phone
As leading international health organisations recommend, all high-touch surfaces should be disinfected frequently, if not daily. You may disinfect your phone every day (especially when you come back from outside), or at least every other day.
6) Assemble a Mobile Cleaning Kit
All you need to clean your phone and its accessories are disinfectant wipes or soap and water, a clean microfibre or soft cloth, and a toothpick or earbuds. Keep them handy in a small pouch, and your mobile cleaning kit is ready!
These simple steps will help to keep you and your mobile phone better protected from the coronavirus.