How to Clean Your Android Phones to Prevent Coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic has led to a spike in sales of products such as hand sanitizers, toilet paper, pasta, just to mention a few.
However, there is no need for too much of anything. Dr Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals who works with the UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health, said. “My advice would be to be vigilant, but calm, and not to panic.”
To protect ourselves from coronavirus, health professionals say that the most important thing to do is wash our hands regularly. Don’t forget to clean your phone regularly, too. “I clean my phone at least once a day,” says Edwards. She advises everyone to do the same — and other medical experts also agree.
With the spread of the novel coronavirus, people are now more aware of staying clean and germ-free. It is great that people are more aware that our phones carry 10 times more germs than our toilet seats.
How to Clean Your Phone
If you consider how often our phones come into contact with surfaces that countless people touch every single day, and compare that to how our phones are ingrained in our daily lives, you can imagine why people are so determined to ensure their phones don’t become a carrier of the coronavirus.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a recent study revealed that the coronavirus can survive on surfaces like glass, metal or plastic (materials most commonly used to make smartphones) for a period of time ranging two hours to nine days.
Emma Hayhurst, a University of South Wales microbiologist, told the scribe that there’s no evidence that the coronavirus won’t transmit through a phone, meaning it remains a possibility until it can be ruled out conclusively.
Using Disinfecting Wipes
Studies show that everything can thrive on your smartphone’s glass screen. COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for anywhere between a few hours to over a week, depending on underlying conditions.
If you want to kill germs, alcohol works. However, some phone companies like Apple do not advise using alcohol-based wipes. The problem comes in when the products may strip the oil-repellent “oleophobic” coating on iPhones.
As for Android devices, one can use a hypochlorous acid-based (50-80ppm) or alcohol-based (formulated with more than 70% ethanol or isopropyl alcohol) product and wipe the front and back of your phone gently without too much pressure. Amongst the most common household products, the best for dealing with coronavirus is ethanol (C2H5OH), isopropyl alcohol (C3H7OH), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and sodium hypochlorite (NaClO).
Isopropyl alcohol is considered the least harmful to the oleophobic coating as it allows fingers to slide over the screen without covering it in fingerprints. Avoid wiping the device excessively. Android users should also avoid using compressed air or applying spray bleaches or liquid solutions directly on the phone.
Ethanol and hydrogen peroxide should be considered as the backup or the less desirable option when nothing else is available. With repeated use, they can easily ruin the oleophobic coating.
These cleaning guidelines are meant for glass, ceramic and metal surfaces, not for soft accessories that are made from materials like plastic, rubber or leather. If you use cases or covers on your phone, it would be a good idea to disinfect them as well, since they tend to capture a lot of dirt and grime anyway over time.
The optimal concentration should be about 70-80%. Purer alcohol evaporates too quickly, therefore, to get the best results, one needs the disinfecting solution to sit on the surface for about a minute or two.
On the other hand, lowering concentration makes it less efficient in killing viruses. That’s why no one should rely on vodka instead of ethyl alcohol or glass cleaner instead of isopropyl alcohol: these compounds have alcohol content much lower than 70%.
If chemical disinfection is not for you, there are other ways to sanitize your smartphone. For example, ultraviolet irradiation. It might not look very chic, but it doesn’t affect the usability much and keeps you safe.
The most radical option is to altogether stop touching your phone when you leave the house unless it’s absolutely necessary. This also doubles up as an effective digital detox strategy.
Also, pay attention to avoid neglecting other gadgets and items that you use in public places: tablets, laptops, smartwatches, bracelets, headphones, and the like. If you must, it’s wise to check on the product website or in the instructions whether the manufacturer has any recommendations as to which substances are best suited for the device cleaning and how to apply them.
Smartphone disinfection tips
- Before wiping your smartphone, check the contents of the solution you use.
- Avoid ethyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide — they could damage the oleophobic coating.
- For wiping a smartphone, your best bet is isopropyl alcohol.
- The optimal concentration is 70-80%.
- Wipe your smartphone every time you return home.