Whether you're at home, picking up a few things at the grocery store, or out on a walk, the chances are that at any given moment your phone is within arm's reach—if not already in your hand. And with all that exposure to the outside world, your mobile device is a prime candidate for transporting the coronavirus. What's even more concerning is that, according to the World Health Organization, the virus has a lifespan on surfaces similar to SARS-CoV, which reportedly could live on a glass phone screen for up to 96 hours—or four full days.
With its ability to survive that long on your phone, the coronavirus can easily spread to your hand while you're texting, your face while you're on a call, and countless places in your home, depending on where you set it down. So, it's safe to say that right now it's more important than ever to clean your phone on a regular basis. But how do you go about that without doing damage to your device?
While soap and water are probably the best resources to fight against COVID-19, Matt McCormick, founder of Jet City Device Repair, says to keep those away from your phone. Water getting into your charging port can "cause corrosion and all kinds of problems," he says.
Instead, McCormick recommends dabbing a clean rag with a 70-percent isopropyl alcohol solution and then wiping down the entire surface of your phone.
If you don't have an alcohol-based cleaning solution on hand, Thomas Bradbury, technical director at GetSongKey, says you can also use alcohol wipes if you have them. If you have Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, the experts at Google say they can be used on the Pixel phone, and the pros at Apple also say they're safe to use on iPhones.
"You should ensure the wipes have a relatively high concentration of alcohol, as this ensures any viruses that are lurking around on your phone can be effectively killed," Bradbury says.
When cleaning your phone, make sure to first unplug any external power sources, avoid getting moisture into any openings—like the power port or headphone jack—and never submerge your device in a cleaning solution.
Bradbury also says that you should wipe down your phone and any relevant accessories several times a day, but stresses that you should never use the same alcohol wipe twice.
Other than diligently cleaning your phone, McCormick recommends taking action to handle your phone as little as possible during these uncertain times.
"Try to use Bluetooth or hands-free if you can," he says. "This will keep you from putting the phone against your face. Or get used to using the virtual assistant more (Siri) to make calls, set timers, and more." McCormick adds that the best way to keep your phone germ-free is "to not even touch it." And for tips on how you can do the same with your vehicle, check out How to Clean Your Car to Stop Coronavirus Spread, According to Experts.