Disinfectant wipes are now declared safe to use on phone screens, but there are still hazardous chemicals you need to avoid when cleaning your phone.
The novel coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease known as COVID-19 may be able to survive on some surfaces for up to nine days, studies have found, and that may include your beloved phone.
This is the device you handle constantly and often press to the side of your face, specifically your ear, nose and mouth, which means that any bacteria, virus or other germs that make its way onto your phone or case could easily transfer to your skin. Washing your hands the right way can help keep you and your loved ones from passing the virus, but what about cleaning your phone? The good news is, disinfecting your smartphone has officially become easier. Following inquiries from its clients, Apple declared that you can safely clean your iPhone with disinfectant wipes like Clorox sheets.
There are still cleaning agents and techniques to avoid, however. While you might initially see good results, these harsher methods can eventually damage the screen (or possibly the internal components) that you’re working so hard to protect. In the past, instructions stated we must not use disinfectant wipes on our phone screens. Samsung is yet to comment on whether it’s safe to use disinfectant wipes on its phones.
Here we will discuss which products to avoid, and the best ways to disinfect your phone and clean off fingerprint smudges, sand and lint from the ports and tenacious makeup off the screen (hint: never with makeup remover). You will also find out how to care for water-resistant phones. Below, nine practical tips you can use to help limit your exposure to Covid19.
Disinfect with Wipes, Never Pure Alcohol
If you touch your phone after touching a public door handle or grocery cart, your instinct might be to immediately think to clean it with rubbing alcohol. Don’t. It can strip the oleophobic and hydrophobic coatings that keep oil and water from damaging your display and other ports. Some websites suggest creating a mix of alcohol and water by yourself, but it’s crucial to get the concentration right. Get it wrong and you could damage your phone. The safest bet is to use disinfectant wipes that contain 70% isopropyl alcohol.
AT&T’s recently revised cleaning guidelines suggest that you “spray a nonabrasive or alcohol-based (70% isopropyl) disinfectant directly on a soft lint-free cloth and wipe down your device while it is powered down and unplugged.” An earlier version of the company’s post suggested using paper towels, which have since been ruled out for being far too abrasive. AT&T has since changed its post to reflect the soft cloth. Another option for day-to-day cleaning is investing in a UV light such as PhoneSoap. This UV light company claims it kills 99.99% of germs, banishing bacteria. As far as we know, it hasn’t been tested in relation to the Covid19 strain of coronavirus.
How to Clean Fingerprint Smudges from Your Screen
Fingerprint smudges are hard to prevent because your skin constantly produces oils. Every time you pick up your phone, it’s bound to get fingerprints all over it. The safest and most effective way to clean your screen is with microfiber cloth. If the screen is in desperate need of cleaning, use distilled water to dampen the microfiber cloth and then wipe down your screen. Avoid squirting water directly on the screen. This method can be used on the back and sides of your phone, too. You can also try a microfiber screen cleaner sticker, which you stick to the back of your phone and can pop off when you need to give it a wipe-down.
Safe Makeup Remover
When you have a full face of makeup and need to make a call, guess what that foundation is about to stick to? That’s right, your phone screen. And while you may use makeup remover to take off your makeup every night, you shouldn’t use it as a screen cleaner due to certain chemicals that could be lurking in the ingredients. Organics.org explains the chemicals that could be in your makeup remover.
Get your Phone its Own Whoosh
If you have a water-resistant phone, rated for IP67 and above, you can rinse it with water. Although these phones, like the iPhone 7 ($550) and newer, and the Galaxy S phones, can withstand submersion for up to 30 minutes in up to three feet of water, it’s a much better idea to use a damp or wet cloth to clean your phone. Then dry your phone with a dry, soft cloth to remove the water. Make sure to pat dry all speakers and ports. Try Whoosh.
Dunking the phone in water or running it under a faucet will get water into the ports, which means you won’t be able to charge until they’re dry, and that can take time. Remember having a water-resistant phone is more about peace of mind than it is about purposely taking your phone for a swim. Now that your phone is clean, check out how to avoid coronavirus with these nine tips to limit your risk without cutting yourself off from the world.
8 Simple Rules
Window cleaner: We’re not here to shame you, but drop that bottle of Windex, stat. You clean your mirrors and windows with it and they’re squeaky clean, so it must be OK to use on your phone. Right? Wrong! Newer phones such as the iPhone XR have a protective coating that resists water and oil which can wear out over time. Harsh cleaners can strip the coating and leave your phone more vulnerable to scratches.
Kitchen cleaners: A screen’s scratch-resistant properties won’t get ground down by cleaning agents, but stripping that protective coating is still a problem. That’s why Apple also suggests not using household cleaning products to clean your iPhone, including bleach. Bar Keepers Friend, for example, states that its abrasive formula may harm the protective layer. Bon Ami states not to use on glass with coatings.
Paper towels: They may be the go-to for cleaning your desk, but keep them away from your phone. The paper can shred, making the debris on your phone much worse. Paper towels can even end up leaving scratches on your screen.
Rubbing alcohol: Thanks to Apple, we now know to avoid it.
Makeup remover: Ditto. Instead, use a soft cloth with a little bit of water.
Compressed air: Your phone is delicate, so blowing an intense amount of air into its portals can cause some damage, specifically to your mic. Tech companies specifically warn not to. Your breath doesn’t count of course.
Soap: While your dish and hand soaps may be gentle, the only way to use them is to combine them with water. Most phone companies suggest you keep water away from your phone, so again, stick to a damp cloth.
Vinegar: It too, seems logical. It is a no-no. Vinegar will strip the screen’s coating. You could, as Lifehacker suggests, use very diluted vinegar to cleanse other parts of your phone. Android Central suggests a 50/50 mix with distilled water for cleaning the sides and back. They also swear by NOT using Clorox wipes “no matter the temptation.”
They say cleanliness is next to godliness and your phone is no exception.
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