The COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world a lot of new things, and they are not all bad. For instance, we now know some of those daunting physical meetings at the office could have been a single email. Your regular 9-5 can just be 6 hours per day work from your home office; saving you the time and money for the commute back and forth to work. You can better understand your lecturer from a video posted online, which you can rewind and forward on demand.
When this pandemic blows over – hopefully soon – there are a lot of new things we hope will continue post-COVID-19. That is the time saving, cost-cutting, and efficient methods of doing things powered by the internet and technology.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the world ever more conscious about personal hygiene and personal space. People have been washing hands more proactively, and are now more aware of personal space thanks to all the calls for social distancing.
This drive for hygiene as a measure of containing the coronavirus has to a great extent made us more cognizant of our smartphone hygiene. For a lot of people, your smartphone has become your shadow. You bring it with you wherever you go; yes even into the washrooms.
It is pretty much common sense that there are places you should and should not have your smartphone. However, we live in a digital world, and our smartphone is out portal into that world. So if you want to be always updated, you will always be on your smartphone.
That means while you are out and about – touching door handles, giving people handshakes and hugs, touching other surfaces other people have been touching – you transmit a lot of that germs to your phone. The very same device that you will often press tightly against your ear and so close to your mouth.
Some of us will even multitask, hold our phones while eating something with our bare hands simultaneously. It used to be we knew about the potential germs we could be extracting from our phone, but in most cases, they were nothing out body’s immune system could not fight off.
That was until the novel coronavirus, which apparently overwhelms our body’s immunity. So now people have to be more conscious of their smartphone hygiene.
The Do’s and Dont’s of Smartphone Hygiene
Constant Washing/Sanitizing of Hands
According to health experts’ advice, a simple hand wash using soap and water is enough to kill off the coronavirus on your hands. So it will do you a lot good if you regularly wash your hands; before using your phone and after touching any other surface.
However, soap and water might not be available under all circumstances. So you better have a small bottle of hand sanitizer that you carry on you wherever you go.
Use Appropriate Disinfectants on your Phone
The major OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) have always given out instructions on how to clean your device. However, it has since emerged that some of these measures – issued before the coronavirus outbreak – might not be effective in the fight against COVID-19.
AT&T for one recently gave out a revised guideline suggesting you can “spray a nonabrasive or alcohol-based (70% isopropyl) disinfectant directly on a soft lint-free cloth and wipe down your device while it is powered down and unplugged.” The previous guideline advised people to use paper towels, which have proven to be too abrasive. Now, soft lint-free cloth is advised instead of paper towels.
Always avoid Pure Alcohol, instead, go for Wipes
While alcohol-based disinfectant are good for sanitizing your hands, they cause havoc to the oleophobic and hydrophobic coatings on your smartphone. Although there is a good number of websites that seem to ‘okay’ the use of alcohol in cleaning your smartphone. They do, however, give a disclaimer on the need to strike the right balance between water and alcohol in the mixture. A balancing act that could easily be missed by so many.
To be on the safe side, you are better off avoiding using alcohol altogether and instead go for disinfectant wipes. Those containing 70% isopropyl alcohol are said to be the best.
Microfiber Cloth for cleaning off Fingerprint Smudges
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, a lot of smartphone users were uncomfortable seeing fingerprint smudges on the screen of their devices. The best and most effective way to remove fingerprint smudges still remains a water-dampened microfiber cloth.
Use water to Clean your Phone
Now, don’t get it twisted! This tip only applies to devices rated IP67 water-resistant. The iPhone 7s, Galaxy S’s, and the likes. The OEM has listed that these devices can take up to 30 minutes duration of submersion under water not exceeding three feet.
Then again, considering the price tag of these devices. Most people would not risk attempting to find if the IP67 water resistance rating is true. Thus, it is more advisable to take a dampen cloth and wipe down your phone, instead of dipping it in a sink full of water or putting it inside your washing machine.
While the phone might truly be water-resistant, dunking them in water or putting them under water tricking from the faucet will get water into open ports. That means you will not be able to properly charge the devices until they are completely dry and free from water.
General Dont’s on Phone Hygiene
Window Cleaner, never use a window cleaner solution to clean your phone. That chemical might be working magic on your glass window panes and leaving them squeaky clean. They will, however, corrode the chemical composition making up your smartphone’s screen.
Kitchen cleaner too should never be used to wipe down your screen. While the solution might make your utensils sparkle. It will erode away your smartphone’s screen thanks to the harsh chemicals used to clean away grease on utensils.
Paper Towels: This one is a no brainer. Paper towels are quite abrasive by nature and will end up leaving scratches on your smartphone’s screen.
Rubbing Alcohol: Apple came out to categorically state that it is not okay to use rubbing alcohol to disinfect your smartphone.
Compressed Air: The internal components of your phone are quite delicate. Blowing fast-moving compressed air through the device will likely dislodge some components out of their places. Resulting in the device not working properly or becoming completely bricked.
Vinegar: Vinegar has got some corrosive properties and using it to clean your device will lead to the coating on your phone’s screen and body pealing off. The same thing applies to soap.
When it comes to taking care of your general body hygiene and even the safety of foods and drinks we take. Most people for the most part are doing a great job. However, there is a lot of laxity and negligence when it comes to technology accessories around us. The hygiene concerns not only apply to your smartphone but include devices such as laptop, remote control, toothbrush, among others.