What hygiene precautions should we be taking with our smartphones and tablets?
With the scale of Coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly evolving, we’re all taking extra precautions to keep ourselves safe and prevent infection. As well as washing our hands regularly, experts suggest we should clean our phones and tablets, too.
The average person touches their phone 2,600 times a day, according to technology researcher Dscout, and uses it around 76 times each day.
So even if we follow the latest guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the NZ Government and wash our hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, we still might be at risk.
This is because the virus can survive for hours or even days outside the body, the WHO says. Any surface that has been contaminated by coughing, sneezing, or even breathing is potentially infectious.
So even if you’ve just washed your hands you could still become infected if you touch your contaminated smartphone then your face.
Cleaning your gadgets obviously makes sense. And here’s how.
Dr Lena Ciric, a microbiologist at University College London told the BBC that simple household soap and water is enough to remove most germs and viruses from smartphones. Alternatively you could use a 70% alcohol disinfectant spray/wipes.
Most phone makers say using chemicals, hand gels and abrasive wipes could damage the phones protective coating.
Dampening a microfibre cloth with water and soap/70% alcohol disinfectant spray/wipes, then gently wipe the hard surfaces of your phone – taking care to avoid the charging port and other openings – is enough to kill most microbial organisms. Buff the phone dry with another clean, dry microfibre cloth.
Just make sure you don’t get any liquid in the charging port or other porous areas like speakers.