Despite the huge economic, social and mental damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, a few silver linings have emerged amid the storm clouds.
Air pollution has dropped dramatically, many people have rediscovered the simple joy of walking among nature, and our awareness of hygiene has never been greater.
However, the growing focus on cleanliness has shone an unflattering light on areas like smartphone hygiene, which most of us wouldn’t have considered before lockdown.
We are constantly touching phone screens with dirty fingers, exposing them to the faecal particles which float up as toilets flush, and setting them down on unhygienic surfaces.
Research in America has suggested the average smartphone harbours ten times as many germs as toilet seats, which are used far less and cleaned far more regularly.
The same research suggested a typical phone has 17,000 different bacteria on it at any given moment, capable of causing everything from colds and flu to gastroenteritis and coronavirus.
As such, phone hygiene is not a topic to be avoided or ignored any longer. Cleaning your handset could help to reduce disease and lower the spread of infections including Covid-19.
These are our tips for cleaning your handset, including a number of things which aren’t recommended in any circumstances…
Do read the manufacturer instructions before cleaning. If you do something expressly forbidden by the device maker, you’ll probably invalidate the warranty.
Don’t immerse the phone in water. Even if it’s IP68 protected, dunking your pride and joy in hot water isn’t going to do its long-term prospects much good.
Do establish a cleaning routing. Weekly cleaning should keep on top of the germs and bacteria which build up as you touch, breathe on and use your phone.
Don’t assume a protective case helps. In many instances, wraparound cases trap germs, allowing them to fester. These need scrubbing along with the handset.
Do use soap. It’s a myth that soap will damage a phone. Use one non-abrasive cloth lightly dampened with warm soapy water to rub it, and another to gently dry it.
Don’t use cleaning materials. Bleach, vinegar, furniture polish and rubbing alcohol are four materials which should never be used while cleaning your handset.
Do use device cleaning wipes. With an optimal ratio of isopropyl alcohol, these non-abrasive wipes won’t scratch the screen in the way household wipes might.
Don’t use force. Compressed air canisters, shaking crumbs from ports, high-pressure liquid sprays and scrubbing the screen with abrasive fabrics could all cause damage.
Do avoid cross-contamination. There’s no point cleaning your phone and then putting it on a dirty kitchen worktop. Dust, polish and wipe surfaces around the home.
Don’t try taking the phone apart. Even if you’re handy with a screwdriver, keep the case closed to prevent further bacterial ingress and the invalidation of your warranty.