In 2016, the British organization Initial Washroom Hygiene took samples from several phones and found up to seven times more bacteria on their surfaces than on any other object.
This simply confirmed what we had suspected: people are not as clean as they seem. A recent YouGov poll revealed that over 50% of Britons admit to having used their phone in the bathroom, and that certainly contributes to the results of the initial tests.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus worldwide has caused governments to rush to remind us how to wash our hands properly. It may also be an appropriate time to learn how to disinfect mobile phones, objects that, as we say, are often plagued by pathogens and bacteria.
In addition to invisible germs, there is overly visible dirt that ruins keyboards, displays, and any other surfaces that are touched. If you keep your smartphone In your pocket, the ports and connectors are probably full of dust and other debris that is not only unsightly, but can cause all kinds of problems.
How to disinfect a phone (or a tablet)
It may seem a little patronizing to be told how to wash your hands, but good hand hygiene leads to a cleaner phone. And obviously break that habit of using Instagram in the bathroom.
However, you will still have to clean your phone from time to time and it is crucial to use the right products to avoid damaging your delicate electronic devices.
Most touch screens have an oleophobic coating that repels fingerprints. These are easily damaged by strong cleaning agents such as ammonia, alcohol and other solvents. So keep the lye and the vinegar.
Instead, use a product designed to be safe for the screens and glass on the back of many phones, such as Muc-Off Device & Screen Cleaner.
This will not kill viruses as it does not contain alcohol, but will virtually kill all bacteria. As a reminder, don't use alcohol-based cleaners unless you don't mind damaging that oleophobic layer.
The best way to remove dirt and grease from your phone is with a microfiber cloth.
Microfiber cloths are better than other materials because the tiny split fibers lift up dirt and retain it, in addition to absorbing liquid. This means that they do not leave lint on the screen or simply spread dirt around. You can moisten a microfiber cloth with water if the screen is particularly dirty.
You will see that a microfiber cloth will also effectively clean the rest of the device, including metal and plastic parts.
For ports and connectors, use a dry brush – a small brush is ideal – to gently remove dirt. Do not use a can of compressed air, as force is likely to damage delicate components, including microphones and speakers.
If dirt gets stuck in the speaker grilles or microphones, a good trick is to use a cocktail stick or toothpick to clean the individual holes in the grille. A pin or needle is also good, if you are careful.
Phone cleaning kits
There are many cleaning kits available for smartphones and tablets, but they tend to be too expensive for what they are. Some include a tiny amount of liquid and a small microfiber cloth; Others provide the spray bottle, and you just have to add water.
What you should look for is a cleaner that kills germs but is free from alcohol and ammonia. Examples include Whoosh! Screen Shine, Eco Moist Screen Cleaner and Muc-Off's Device and Screen Cleaner, mentioned above.
Alternatively, you could buy a UV sterilizer. These tend to be used for beauty or pet care products, but they can also clean your smartphone, tablet or other small device. Just insert the device, leave it for 20 minutes on each side and the UV light will kill all bacteria and viruses without any chemicals or liquids.
There are several models available, but if you buy one with a cover, make sure your phone fits on it.
How to clean the phone case
Most people protect their smartphone Y tablet with a case, so it's worth keeping in mind that you need to clean that as well as your device. If it's made of plastic, you should be able to clean it with a spray standard kitchen or bathroom disinfectant.
Some plastic cases (and screen protectors, by the way) have an antimicrobial coating, and while its effectiveness is questionable, it's certainly a better option than a cloth case. The fabric is difficult to clean and disinfect, and also harbor bacteria. Our advice is to avoid these cases.
And if you have a leather case, don't use water that damages it, but a proper leather cleaner.
How to clean the screen
You can use an alcohol-free cleaner (or vinegar-free cleaner) to clean most screens, including those on notebook computers, regardless of whether they have a matte or glossy finish. You can spray directly onto a screen, but try not to let the droplets fall onto the case at the bottom.
Again, microfiber cloths are ideal for cleaning a screen, as they help prevent scratches and are effective in removing dust and fingerprints. Use a little water if the marks are difficult to move, but be careful not to press hard on the screen of a laptop, as it can easily damage the LCD panel.
For more information, read our guide that explains how to clean a keyboard.
If your laptop or PC isn't working well, then a spring cleaning might be the thing. Our tips for speeding up Windows will help you get back to working at full capacity.
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