As we all work together to try and slow the spread of the coronavirus, the government has been urging us to take our own measures to help. As a result, some supermarkets saw a 363% rise in hand soap sales during the first week of ‘panic buying’. So it’s fair to say that most of the UK are trying to do their part on the hand washing front.
It’s great that most of us are trying to be so cautious with cleaning our hands. But have you asked yourself when the last time you cleaned your phone was? Is there any point cleaning your hands if you’re just going to potentially re-infect them the moment you pick your phone back up?
Apparently, on average, we pick up our phone 58 times per day. If you combine that statistic with the fact that one in every six devices usually carries unpleasant bacteria that is strongly associated with the bathroom, you’ll probably be horrified.
Think of all the places you take your phone. These can include school/university/the supermarket/work/the gym. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to start cleaning the item that you take the most places and handle the most. So, where do you start in keeping your phone coronavirus-free?
What do I need to clean my phone?
There are a few different things you can use and we’ll talk you through each one of them.
- Disinfectant wipes
Apple have advised using disinfectant wipes to clean your phone/device without harming it. The wipes should have up to 70% isopropyl alcohol – you can check the ingredients on the packet for this. If you look carefully, you can find wipes that are advertised as safe for use on devices. Although Apple have provided this guidance (published in March 2020), we haven’t seen any official guidance from organisations such as Samsung/Android yet.
- Soap and water
Now, obviously you shouldn’t stick your phone in a sink of soapy water. Being the UK’s no.1 student insurance provider (including gadget insurance), we would never suggest that you do that. However, in March 2020, a microbiologist at University College London (UCL) spoke to the BBC about how using soap and water can be really effective when disinfecting a phone/device. You’d need to dampen a microfiber cloth with some soap and water, wipe your phone over, repeat until the soapy bits are gone and then dry it. Take great care and make sure the cloth isn’t wet enough to drop any water into the crevices of your phone.
- Use phone cleaner
Yes, there is such a thing! If you can manage to get your hands on some phone soap/cleaner which is designed especially for use on devices, then you can use that. You should always check the instructions on the product and make sure it’s safe to use on your device.
It’s worth noting that regardless of the products you use to clean your device, you should always check manufacturer’s guidance before using any such products and use them at your own risk.
Now it’s time to start cleaning.
How to clean your phone
Step 1 – Gather your equipment as mentioned above.
Step 2 – Remove your case.
Step 3 – Start with wiping down your screen with your chosen method. Work in circular motions from left to right, getting lower each time you hit the side of your phone.
Step 4 – Wipe the back of your phone, repeating the same method as Step 3.
Step 5 – Wipe the sides of your phone, making sure you’re covering all areas.
Step 6 – Wipe your phone case.
Step 7 – Leave the phone and case to dry/dry them with a microfiber cloth.
A quick internal clean
Whilst we’re here, how about running through a quick clean of your phone’s insides? No, we don’t mean taking your phone apart and delving into its mechanics. We mean having a ‘clear out’ of the many apps/content that your phone holds.
Think of it as looking after your phone’s mental health. Working through the apps that are no longer useful and creating space for newer, more relevant downloads. Here are a few tips on how to give your phone an extra bit of TLC.
Update your phone
How many times do you think you’ve selected ‘Update later’ when your phone suggests updating its software? We know it can be a pain to wait for a software update to complete, but keeping your phone updated is really important.
Think of it like using an out-of-date text book to study. There’s only so much you can do before you’ll more than likely need to get the newest version. So, why suffer with slower, out-of-date software when you can take a few minutes to update it? You’ll be able to make use of the newer features, bug updates and make sure you’re protecting your personal data as best as you can.
Remove things that you no longer need
If you’re hoarding apps/images/texts that aren’t needed any more, maybe it’s time for a cull. Work through the items you know you don’t need to keep and remove them from your phone. Doing so will create more space for new apps/media and may even speed your device up a little.
Take regular backups
As phones are never normally in one place for very long, the risk of losing or damaging your device is quite high. Backing up your phone’s contents ensures that even if your phone is damaged or lost, your data is safe and can be restored on your new device. Thanks to the Cloud, you can now back your phone up in more ways than just using a computer. Services like Dropbox and OneDrive can back up your phone on the go – perfect for a busy lifestyle.
Try turning it off and on again
As we’re rarely without our phones, many of us can go weeks, even months without switching them off. However, just like a computer, phones need a hardware refresh and some downtime. Try turning off your phone at least once a week and reap the rewards!
So, there you have it, an internal and external clean to boost your phone’s health. It’s a good idea to set a reminder to repeat this process as often as you can. If you do make an effort to build this phone hygiene into your daily routine, you should reduce the chance of carrying unwanted bacteria around on your travels.
Don’t forget to pass this article onto your friends and family. Help them make sure that they too are making their best efforts to keep their phone clean and protect themselves from the coronavirus.