Smartphones are always covered in bacteria from our hands, but deadly viruses like coronavirus can survive there too. And now that we are in a global pandemic with COVID-19, it is more important than ever to keep your smartphone clean.
It is thought that COVID-19 can survive on plastic, metal and glass for as long as 9 days, unless the surface is properly disinfected. This means if you pick up the COVID-19 virus on your hands and use your smartphone without washing them, your phone will be a carrier for COVID-19 for as long as 9 days if it isn’t disinfected.
Now, we don’t know about you, but we use our smartphones all the time. We pick our smartphones up without thinking about it and we also let our children go on them. When you consider COVID-19 is killing thousands of people each day across Europe, keeping your phone coronavirus-free is one of the smartest things you can do.
Keeping your phone coronavirus free
First of all, do you need to take your phone with you when you leave the house? Leaving it at home or in your car when you go out is the simplest way to prevent COVID-19 from living on your smartphone in the first place.
If you do need to take your phone with you, keep it in your pocket. If you do use it, thankfully, you can clean your smartphone effectively with household products. Here’s what you can use and how to use it for the best results:
With antibacterial surface wipes
This is our preferred option because surface wipes are portable.
Take an antibacterial surface wipe (a kitchen or bathroom version is fine so long as it’s antibacterial) and wipe your phone down with it. Let the wetness stay on your smartphone for 30 seconds, and it will evaporate by itself. This will be enough to kill the COVID-19 virus, and your phone will smell great too.
The most popular antibacterial surface wipe is Dettol wipes. Another popular product is Flash surface wipes. These have proven effective at killing coronavirus strains from the same family as COVID-19, so they are very effective.
With antibacterial sprays
You can use antibacterial sprays like Dettol and Astonish to clean your smartphone in the same way you clean a worktop. However, you want to let the spray sit on your smartphone for at least 60 seconds and ensure complete coverage. Make sure the spray you choose has a disclaimer that says it kills coronavirus.
With 60%+ alcohol hand sanitizer gel
60%+ alcohol hand sanitizer gel kills coronavirus and COVID-19 on both skin and hard surfaces, so it can be used on your smartphone all the same.
Squeeze or bump a dollop of hand sanitizer gel onto your phone and rub it all over your smartphone with your hands. The sanitizer gel’s high alcohol content will kill the coronavirus and evaporate on its own without a trace.
Please note that we do not recommend alcohol-free hand sanitizer gel. Alcohol-free hand sanitisers contain something called quaternary ammonium, which is less effective at killing the coronavirus than alcohol. If you can, stick to alcohol hand gels.
With isopropyl alcohol
You can use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to kill coronavirus and keep your smartphone coronavirus free. Take a dry microfibre cloth or dry rag and wet it with the isopropyl alcohol. Rub your smartphone with it all over for at least 60 seconds, making sure to cover every corner. This will kill the virus.
SAFETY warning: Isopropyl alcohol is highly flammable.
With methylated spirits
If you do not have isopropyl alcohol, you can use methylated spirits instead. Methylated spirits are 95-99% ethanol and so are actually much more effective at killing coronavirus than hand sanitizer gel on hard surfaces. It has the same effect as isopropyl alcohol and will kill the virus. Just make sure you wear gloves to avoid dry skin.
SAFETY warning: Methylated spirits are highly flammable.
If you don’t have any surface wipes, isopropyl alcohol or hand sanitizer, you can use ordinary soap and a sponge or cloth – but please bear in mind you risk damaging your phone with this method if you are not careful.
Take a bar of ordinary soap and rub it onto a clean, damp sponge or cloth that you can wash or discard of later. You don’t need to use as much soap as you use for your hands. The sponge or cloth shouldn’t be too wet. The soap should provide most of the moisture. This is important so you don’t damage your phone with water.
Take your sponge or cloth and wipe your smartphone’s screen, sides, and rear with it. Let the soap sit on your smartphone for 30 seconds, and then use a damp cloth to remove the soap. It may take a while, but this process is the most intensive clean you can do. It’s also a great way to wash your hands at the same time.
DO NOT USE
The following products are not suitable for keeping your smartphone coronavirus free:
- Surface sprays that are not antibacterial.
- Alcohol-free hand sanitizer – it isn’t effective.
- Bleach (although this will kill the virus, it may also damage your phone).
- Vinegar of any type – it doesn’t kill the virus.
- Drinking alcohol including vodka – it isn’t strong enough to kill the virus.
- Baby wipes – these are not antibacterial, so they won’t kill the coronavirus.
General tips for cleaning your smartphone
- Make sure you don’t overlook your phone case. This will need disinfecting just as much as your smartphone.
- Products that evaporate are the safest option for electronics – isopropyl alcohol, methylated spirits and alcohol sanitizer gel are good options
- If you use soap, don’t use too much water, and don’t use too much soap. Don’t let the soap dry. Rub it off with a damp cloth when wet.
- COVID-19 is a persistent virus, but it can be killed with high concentrations of alcohol, but alcohol is highly flammable, so take care.
- Because smartphones are portable, portable hand sanitizer is a good option for when you are out and about, or you can keep a packet of anti-bacterial wipes in your bag.