How to disinfect your smartphone in the fight against COVID-19

COVID- 19 was a pandemic that effectively stopped the world. We all watched in fear as it spread faster and faster. We went from having to just wash our hands and keep a distance to being quarantined in our homes. We went into lockdown with a mad rush for basic necessities and medicines. We have seen the numbers rise in every country despite the protocols in place. 

We now know a little more about the novel Coronavirus. We know that it is airborne, which means that the virus can be transmitted through the air. When a person with the Coronavirus coughs or sneezes, the droplets expelled can be breathed in by another person causing them to fall sick. We also know that we aren’t supposed to bring our hands near our nose and mouth as something we touched may have come into contact with the virus. 

We are being asked to maintain a distance of one meter, wear a mask, regularly sanitize, and wash our hands. Not leaving our houses too often and not trending large gatherings is also a precaution that has been asked of us. Despite all these precautions, we have a large spike in cases every day. Most people’s attention has shifted to taking more precautions. They are looking for more that they can do to protect themselves. The focus has shifted to smartphones. 

Can Smartphones spread Coronavirus?

We know how COVID-19 spreads. Despite this knowledge, we aren’t sure how safe our surroundings are, and this extends to our smartphones. There have been studies stating that the Coronavirus can live on inanimate objects for up to 9 days. Inanimate objects can consist of railings, doorknobs, shopping carts, and even our smartphones. 

But do our smartphones have the Coronavirus?

There is no direct evidence to prove that our smartphones are capable of spreading the virus. Then again, there is no harm in being safe. This being safe, there is no need to throw your phone away. Even if it does carry the virus, your smartphone can be disinfected. Once it is disinfected, there is no need to worry as the virus would not have survived. 

Is it necessary to do this? It is better to be safe in times like this. Our smartphones come with us everywhere, and they are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. It has already been shown that our phone screens hold many germs, and there is no harm to cleaning your phone. Our phones come very close to our noses and mouths, and if they are capable of carrying the virus, then it is only safe to disinfect your phone as well. 

This being said, there is a proper method to do this. 

How do you disinfect your device correctly?

Disinfecting your phone is not as straightforward as it seems. Disinfecting a railing or doorknob deals is easy; you use some pure alcohol or bleach, and the job is done. They are resilient to harsh disinfectants, our phones… not so much. 

Smartphones

You can’t just throw some alcohol on your smartphone to disinfect it because of something called an oleophobic coating. This is an oil-repellent coating on the display of your phone. This is in place to make sure that fingerprints and other smudges don’t stick to the screen. Companies like Apple and Google have also previously mentioned that anything more than a lint cloth dipped in some soapy water could harm your phone. 

But there are approved ways to sanitise your smartphone such as:; 

  1. Disinfectant wipes: Apple came out with a statement saying disinfectant wipes were okay to use on your phone as long as you were careful. If you gently wipe your phone with disinfectant wipes, there will be no damage to your phone. 
  2. Microfiber cloth with 40% rubbing alcohol and 60% water: The concoction mentioned is safe for use on your phone. But remember to be careful with the proportions, too much alcohol could damage your screen. 
  3. Screen Protector: A simple way out of this problem is getting a screen protector (or screen guard) on your phone. The protectors are usually plastic or glass and are meant to protect your phone screen from damage. They will also do the job when it comes to protecting your phone screen from harsh chemicals. Your display won’t be harmed, but the responsiveness of your screen might be affected. 
  4. Earphones: The surefire way to never bring your smartphone near your face would be to use earphones. This way, you get to answer calls without bringing your phone near your face, make sure to remember to wash your hands after using your phone. 

Things to remember when sanitising your smartphone: 

  1. No moisture: Moisture does not go well with smartphones. When sanitising your phone, make sure not to let the moisture into any charging ports or buttons to avoid damage. 
  2. Don’t use bleach: Despite bleach being a great disinfectant, it cannot be used on mobile phones, even with a screen protector. This is guaranteed to damage your phone. 
  3. Phone sanitisers: with the advent of COVID-19, many ‘phone sanitisers’ have started to pop up in the market. There is no definitive proof that they work, so it would not be advisable to use them. It will be a waste of money. 

Final Tips:

With COVID-19 creating havoc in our lives, the only thing we can do is be safe. So, we’re ending with a few general tips to help you stay safe during this pandemic: 

  1. Wear a mask in public
  2. Avoid touching public surfaces 
  3. Keep your hands away from your face
  4. Sanitise and wash your hands regularly
  5. Maintain social distancing in public
  6. Don’t leave your house for no reason, while this is not mandatory; it does reduce the risk of you being exposed to the virus. 

That being said, we hope you all stay safe and healthy!


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