Constantly handled, rarely cleaned
The smartphone is a device that we use every day and that we manipulate constantly, with clean or dirty hands. It can be left on the desk, in the kitchen, it is sometimes even taken to the bathroom ... and yet, its cleaning is often neglected. In 2018, a British study even pointed out that the mobile phone is on average three times dirtier than the toilet bowl! The reason is simple: we clean the toilet bowl more often than our smartphone, which turns out to be rather strange. The study even reveals that a third of those surveyed have never cleaned their mobile device.
Can a smartphone transmit COVID-19?
According to some studies, the coronavirus can survive for tens of hours on surfaces such as plastic and steel, and the glass on a smartphone screen is also a potentially risky surface. We can therefore deduce that a mobile phone can indeed carry COVID-19, but the information must be put into perspective. Indeed, a smartphone is a personal object, which we lend quite rarely. If you are sick, touch your mobile and drop a virus on it, there is little risk of transmitting it if you keep your device to yourself. A good reason not to lend it!
Note also that if the new coronavirus is the center of attention, this observation is also valid for other viruses such as gastroenteritis, for example. In any case, it is useful, if not essential, to clean your smartphone frequently.
Clean your smartphone completely
Effectively cleaning a smartphone or tablet is not just about wiping the screen with a wipe. No part of the device should be neglected, starting with its shell or protective case. Therefore, please start by separating the terminal from its accessories. If the case is made of plastic or silicone, you can clean it with soap and water, then wipe it dry with a soft cloth. For imitation leather or leather cases, choose a dedicated product, or use a soft damp cloth to avoid damaging the leather or imitation coating.
Then switch to the smartphone itself. A wipe intended for cleaning computer screens may be suitable for cleaning your smartphone effectively. Read the packaging carefully to make sure there are no contraindications, and also avoid excessively soaked wipes which may leak liquid into small spaces in the smartphone or tablet, such as the speaker for example. Always wipe off with a cloth to prevent the liquid from leaving traces, then place the smartphone or tablet back in its protective case.
Smartphone hygiene: the pitfalls to avoid
Cleaning your smartphone or tablet is a daily necessity to ensure good hygiene, but there are some easy solutions to be aware of. At first, this may seem obvious, but it is better to clarify: do not place your device under running water! Even if the smartphone or tablet is advertised as waterproof, in particular according to the IP67 or IP68 standards, it is strongly recommended not to knowingly immerse it in water, at the risk of damaging it.
Another liquid to avoid when cleaning your device: hydroalcoholic gel! Just because it may be good for hand hygiene does not mean it would be good for your smartphone or tablet ... In general, avoid also all alcohol-based products. This may damage the display of the device, but also its components. Also, leave out bleach and corrosive household cleaning products. As for wipes dedicated to the household, if they can replace the wipes specifically dedicated to screens and electronic devices, they should however be used sparingly, as they can end up damaging the coating of the screen or the shell of the device.
Cleaning your smartphone and tablet: a summary
In short, if the current health situation can motivate you to clean your mobile devices more often, it is recommended to keep this habit for the long term, ideally on a daily basis. Washing your hands several times a day is of little interest if it is to immediately put them on a dirty tablet or a smartphone.
Ideally, opt for cleaning products dedicated to screens and electronic devices to ensure that you do not harm your devices by disinfecting them. This is a good reflex that could save you a lot of the hassle associated with viruses and bacteria that circulate through the different seasons, and usually only takes few seconds, so why not just do it?