Are We Cleaning Our Phones Often Enough?

Did you know Coronavirus can live on surfaces for several days after someone with the virus touches it and that includes your phone? Cleaning your phone is vitally important in reducing the spread of coronavirus. The CEO of Waveform, Sina Khanifar, reports that 1 in 2 Americans disinfect their cell-phone regularly, but over 1/3 of Americans are not disinfecting their phone at all since the news of the Coronavirus pandemic happened.

Asian man wearing surgical face mask using smartphone in subway tunnel with crowded people walking.

In the United States, we now have more reported cases of COVID-19 than any other country. As a result, there is a huge impact on the daily lives of millions of Americans. Many are under orders to “shelter in place” or to “stay home, stay safe.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers phones to be one of several “high touch surfaces” with suggested routine cleanly and disinfecting. These surfaces are considered one of the biggest risk factors in transmitting the disease.

And, while regular hand washing and social distancing are still the best ways to prevent transmission, there are many ways to clean and disinfect your home for greater protection.

What is the Difference between Cleaning and Disinfecting?

According the experts, cleaning and disinfecting are related but often confused. From the guide, Keeping Your Home & Car Coronavirus Free, they are defined as follows.

  • Cleaning: refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
  • Disinfecting: refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

Indian woman with face mask cleaning and disinfecting her house during coronavirus epidemic.

How Do I Disinfect Surfaces?

The Environmental Protection Agency provides a searchable table of products suitable for use against the Coronavirus. Always read and use the product according to the directions listed.

If you do not have access to a disinfectant on the list, you can make a simple one at home by using bleach. The Keeping Your Home & Car Coronavirus Free guide explains how.

  • Start with a quart of water in an empty spray bottle
  • Add 4 teaspoons of bleach to the bottle
  • Shake the bottle vigorously
  • Spray on any bleach-safe surface to disinfect
  • Let the disinfectant sit for 10 minutes
  • Wipe away with a wet cloth

Just remember to use bleach only where it won’t damage surfaces. This is especially important if you plan on using it in your vehicle, where bleach can damage certain textures and fabrics.

Why You Need to Clean and Disinfect Your Smartphone

How Do I Disinfect My Phone?

The CDC recommends following manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting electronics.

However, directions may vary by manufacturer. For instance, Apple recommends “using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes” on the hard, non-porous surfaces of the device. Samsung suggests similar practices.

If directions are not available, CDC guidelines suggest to “use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. Dry surface thoroughly.”

Further Reading

As always, please continue staying safe!