How to disinfect your mobile phone

We constantly use our hands throughout the day. We type messages with keyboards, press elevator buttons, open doors, and then touch our faces. It happens, and the amount of times we do so has become much clearer given all of the news and recommendations around COVID-19. Washing our hands is a great way to reduce the chance of exposure, but there’s one item in our daily lives that we’re likely to overlook: our mobile phones.

While the CDC is still investigating how long the current strain of Coronavirus, COVID-19, can survive on surfaces, studies have shown that phone screens can host many viruses and bacteria including E. coli, Streptococcus, and other germs, making regular disinfection of your mobile phone a preventative must.

How to clean your mobile phone

Our mobile phones touch our faces when we use them, and then they’re kept in desks, stored in bags, or passed around as we share the latest memes on social media. Simply put, even the slickest looking mobile phone is gross.

Disinfecting your mobile phone is a fairly quick and easy process:

1. Remove phone from its case

Once you’ve removed your phone from its case, power it down.

2. Polish phone with a microfiber cloth

Wipe all surfaces of your phone with a microfiber cloth to remove smudges, oils, and debris. You can use a paper towel, but a microfiber cloth will remove much more off of the surface, especially trapped dirt and oil.

3. Wipe phone with a disinfectant cloth

Wipe all surfaces of your phone a second time with a disinfectant cloth. Double-check the packaging to ensure it’s safe for use on electronics and wring it out if it’s excessively wet.

4. Air dry for at least 5 minutes

Disinfectants used in wipes, like most others, are most effective when allowed to air dry on surfaces for at least 10 minutes. In the case of a phone, it’s best to not expose it to moisture for longer than needed – and 5 minutes will make a considerable difference.

5. Wipe phone with a paper towel or microfiber cloth

Wipe off any leftover moisture. This second round with a cloth will remove any germs that were neutralized by the disinfectant. It’s ideal to use a different cloth from the one you used in the second step of the process to avoid reintroducing gems onto the phone’s surface.

6. Repeat all steps with your phone’s case

Repeat the same process with your phone’s case. Since cases are more durable and don’t contain any electronic components, you can opt to use a stronger disinfectant; just be sure to not use bleach or other chemicals that can cause damage.

How often should I disinfect my phone?

Disinfecting your phone daily ensures that you’re effectively preventing residue able to harbor bacteria and viruses. It may seem like an extra task, but is a good preventative measure to take, particularly right now.

Keeping an extra microfiber cloth in your workspace will come in handy. Wiping your phone down several times a day, even without disinfectant, will help keep debris from collecting and reduce the transfer of everyday grime to your face.

Do you have any tips on how to keep your mobile phone and other electronics clean? Please share your knowledge in the comments below!

Matt has spent the better part of 2 decades building systems, managing IT departments, and developing websites and applications for the education, publishing, and technical service industries. As an MCSE...

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