Coronavirus Disinfection: Best Hygiene Practices for Smartphones and Gadgets to Avoid Covid-19

CDC cleveland Clinic Inc. MIT Time Unicef
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Best Hygiene Practices for Smartphones and Gadgets to Avoid Covid-19

Coronavirus Disinfection:
Best Hygiene Practices for Smartphones and Gadgets to Avoid Covid-19

As quarantine measures continue worldwide to mitigate the rise in COVID-19 cases, more people have turned to technology to be informed and to ensure the continuity of their livelihood. During this difficult time, gadgets such as smartphones and desktops play a key part in keeping people connected. For this crucial reason, keeping these items clean is just as important as observing proper and frequent handwashing.

Seeing the pandemic unfold in the news would naturally have anyone concerned about their family’s safety at home. Fortunately, keeping your home COVID-free is not rocket science. Attentively cleaning your home regularly will do the job.

Why Do You Need to Sanitize Your Gadgets Regularly?

When house cleaning, many people often tend to forget about including their gadgets in the process. Cleaning furniture and appliances is a no-brainer, but the technology in our pockets often gets left behind.

According to various studies, the average person spends more than four hours of their day on their mobile devices. A lot of people also mindlessly touch their phones every minute or two, even if they are in the middle of doing something else.

This simple habit may seem harmless, but it causes the accumulation of pathogenic microorganisms or gems on the phone. You can get all sorts of harmful bacteria from your daily interactions with people and common objects like the handrails on the subway or the door of your corner convenience store.

You can then pass on these germs to other objects or people with a single touch. 

A 2017 research study found that cell phones carry ten times more bacteria than most toilet seats! Phones are silent disease vectors which can cause a menagerie of preventable illnesses. This alone is a winning argument for starting your own gadget hygiene routine.

How Often Should You Clean Your Gadgets?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that disinfection should be done at least once a day.

A more frequent routine may be necessary for those who extensively use their phones, tablets, laptops, and even video game controllers. Consider using wipes as much as necessary, especially if you spend a lot of time in public spaces. For your efforts to be thoroughly effective, this should be accompanied by frequent hand washing.

What Do You Need for Cleaning Your Phones and Gadgets?

What Do You Need for Cleaning Your Phones and Gadgets?

How to Sanitize Phones and Tablets

To thoroughly clean your phones and gadgets, prepare these items:

  • A lint-free microfiber cloth
  • 1/2 cup of distilled water
  • 1/2 cup of 70 percent Isopropyl alcohol
  • Cotton swabs or wooden toothpicks
  • Spray bottle

Instructions:

  1. Unplug the device. This includes chargers and headsets.
  2. Remove any phone case or tablet covers.
  3. Mix the water with the alcohol. Note that you can use any other type of alcohol or alcohol-based sanitizers. However, for this purpose, the 70 percent Isopropyl alcohol is deemed most effective.
  4. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and shake.
  5. Give the microfiber cloth one to two puffs of the mixture, or enough to make it damp.
  6. Use the cloth to wipe down the entire phone. See that all exposed parts are covered.
  7. For hard to reach and delicate places such as the camera lens, buttons, and attachment ports, use a dry cotton swab or a toothpick to remove dust build-up or any accumulated dirt.
  8. Allow the phone to air dry.

For cleaning phone cases:

  • Silicone cases can be soaked in a solution of lukewarm water and dishwashing soap. Make sure you clean the edges. If you clean your silicone phone case daily, simply use the water plus alcohol mixture on a damp microfiber cloth to wipe it.
  • For cases made of hard plastic, use the water-alcohol mixture to clean the item. See to it that the case is completely dry before putting the phone back in the case.
  • You will need a saddle soap and a leather condition to clean leather phone cases. Air dry before using again.

How to Sanitize Your Laptop or Computer

Deep cleaning a laptop or computer is necessary for its maintenance, but since the discussion is on sanitation, we will be limiting this cleaning guide to parts of your device/s you interact with most commonly. This includes the keypads, keyboard, and display.

For this purpose, you will need:

  • Isopropyl alcohol or alcohol-based sanitizers
  • Distilled, purified, or bottled water. Do not use tap water.
  • A can of compressed air. (WARNING: Use with caution.)
  • A lint-free microfiber or cotton cloth. Do not use paper towels or tissues
  • Spray bottle

Instructions:

  1. Turn off the computer and unplug it from the source.
  2. Remove any attachments.
  3. Combine the water and alcohol.
  4. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and shake.
  5. Spray a small amount of the mixture onto the lint-free or microfiber cloth. Do not soak the cloth; only use enough to dampen it.
  6. For laptops, start wiping the exterior parts except for the keyboard.
  7. Clean the display in a slow, circular manner or from side to side or top to bottom.
  8. Take the computer keyboard and turn it over to let debris, dust, and dirt fall off. Run your fingers through the keys to hasten the process. You can also use the can of compressed air to do the job. Either way, see to it that you test it out first so you have better control of how much distance you need. You may also use this to clean ports and vents. Avoid damage to the fans by placing a cotton swab between the fan blades while you're blowing air on them.

(Note: Some computer or laptop keyboard keys are removable. Check the computer manual to see if this is possible. If it is, you may remove them individually to thoroughly clean the underlying section.)

  1. Using the same microfiber cloth, wipe the keys clean, including the touchpad. 
  2. Make sure your laptop or computer is fully dry before using it again.

Gadget Cleaning Don’ts

>Gadget Cleaning Don’ts

  • Never use these items directly to clean your phone:
    • Household cleaners
    • Aerosol spray cleaners
    • Strong solvents like Acetone and Benzene
    • Bleach
    • Ammonia
    • Hydrogen Peroxide
    • Abrasive powders
  • Never spray anything directly onto your phone.
  • Never spray anything on the ports or vents.
  • Avoid excessive wiping. Rub and wipe gently.
  • Avoid using your gadget inside the bathroom or restroom.
  • If possible, avoid using your phone during your commute.

Do You Need UV Light?

While UV light sanitizers have been selling like crazy in the past few months because of the pandemic, a simple water-alcohol mixture can do the job. UV light has been found to be effective against viruses but it remains unclear how the COVID-19 virus reacts to it.

If you have a few extra dollars to spare, go for it, but as far as the evidence shows, proper hand washing routines plus gadget hygiene are all you’ll ever need.

Other General Hygiene Tips

Cleaning your most-used tech tools is surely a great way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dreaded COVID-19. But it is even more effective when practiced with these important hygiene tips:

  • Always sanitize your hands with soap and water or with alcohol or hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Use your elbow or upper arm when sneezing or coughing.
  • If you don't feel well, stay at home.
  • Keep household surfaces clean.
  • Keep your distance and avoid crowds.

Remember that fighting and winning against a pandemic is a collective effort. Doing your part matters. A little sacrifice and patience now will help everyone get back to their lives and move forward as soon as possible.





References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. n.d. "Cleaning and Disinfection for Households." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  • https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html

Cleveland Clinic. March 17, 2020. "Sanitize Your Mobile Phone With These Helpful Tips." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  • https://health.clevelandclinic.org/sanitize-your-mobile-phone-with-these-helpful-tips/

Inc. n.d. "Are You On Your Phone Too Much? The Average Person Spends This Many Hours On It Every Day." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  • https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/are-you-on-your-phone-too-much-average-person-spends-this-many-hours-on-it-every-day.html

MIT Medical. n.d. "Three ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  • https://medical.mit.edu/three-ways-to-protect

Time Magazine. August 23, 2017. "Your Cell Phone Is 10 Times Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat. Here's What to Do About It." Accessed May 14, 2020.pr

  • https://time.com/4908654/cell-phone-bacteria/

The United Nations Children's Fund. n.d. "Cleaning and hygiene tips to help keep the COVID-19 virus out of your home." Accessed May 14, 2020.pr

  • https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/cleaning-and-hygiene-tips-help-keep-coronavirus-covid-19-out-your-home