Recent research shows that pathogens such as e. coli, SARS and MERS can live on a phone screen for up to four days, and a corresponding study shows that on average, a person will pick up their phone 76 times a day.
For COVID-19, it is still unclear how long it will live on your device. Some have pegged it at mere hours while others have said a week. But if it’s like any of the 17,000 or so typical pathogens found on a high school student’s phone, it stands a very good chance of living on your phone longer than you think.
Sadly, just washing your germ magnet is not as simple as washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
The most effective method to disinfect an electronic device is a UV light made specifically for this purpose, as it would kill roughly 99.99 per cent of the bacteria or viruses in under 30 seconds. But, how many of us have a UV light handy?
We asked our IT team and for their best advice and this what they recommend.
First, turn your device off and remove it from its case and unplug anything physically plugged into it. Find a good, soft, microfibre cloth; they can be found at the dollar store in packs of five, but the small cloth that comes with your glasses will work just as well.
Second, use a very small amount of warm soapy water, screen cleaning solution, or water with less than 50 per cent rubbing alcohol. Using harsh chemicals might also clean your device but they could also ruin your screen.
Side note: A waterproof phone (rated at IP68) can be placed under water for a very thorough cleaning. Most flagship phones have this sort of rating but check with your carrier or the manufacturer first if you are unsure.
Back to the cleaning…rub the solution all over your device and leave it to dry thoroughly overnight. At this point, it can be plugged back in for charging.
And finally, wash your hands afterwards for at least 20 seconds. Clean phone; clean hands; healthy user.