What the Tech: Sanitizing a smartphone

Local News

Everyone’s talking about washing hands to stop the spread of the flu and the coronavirus, but what about the filthiest thing we touch every day? The thing that can transmit flu-carrying germs straight to clean hands? You know, smartphones and computers.

Cleaning these expensive devices isn’t simple and may not be all that effective at killing germs for a simple reason: cleaning solutions and simple soap and water can damage screens and even cause sudden death of the devices. Fortunately, there are a few products that help keep them clean.

Several companies are selling products that kill up to 99% of germs and bacteria using ultra-violet light. Health officials say UV-C light kills germs without affecting the electronics inside the phone. UV Angel and Phone Soap have released new products that use UV-C light to clean smartphones. You simply place the device in a tray or case and turn on the light. These are in the $100 range.

Zeiss makes portable wipes that come in small packets to clean the screen and keyboards. These use a proprietary solution to wipe away smudges and will eliminate dust, grime, and some germs. Whoosh! is a popular product made especially for smartphones. The solution comes in several styles. There are single-use wipes and spray bottles with an anti-microbial cloth. Whoosh! claims the solution leaves an invisible coating that prevents germs, dust, and grime from attaching to the phone.

Clorox also makes cleaning wipes for computers, laptops, and phone screens that kill germs. The products made for screens do not drip. As for using the common Clorox or Lysol wipes,these can drip and should only be used on smartphone cases and laptop cases and computer mice. It’s crucially important not to let drops of water or any liquid get into smartphone ports or underneath a laptop keyboard.

For computers you can use a bit of compressed air on the keyboard to remove any dust or food crumbs that may have fallen underneath. Be careful though, too much pressure and you might blow the keys right off the keyboard.

For DIY’ers you can make your own cleaning solution of water and white vinegar or alcohol. Put just a few drops of a 50-50 mixture onto a microfiber cloth and wipe down the devices. Be careful that the cloth is not dripping with the solution. You won’t need much of it. Wipe down the device and dry it off with another cloth. I recommend using the alcohol mixture because isopropyl or rubbing alcohol will evaporate quickly.

One of the best ways to keep your phone clean is by keeping your hands cleaner. Washing them frequently for 20 seconds or more will kill germs that cause the flu or other illnesses.

And think about this the next time you take your phone to the bathroom. If you use it, then wash your hands, the germs on your phone will be transferred to your freshly washed hands almost immediately.

Health officials say viruses can live on hard glass surfaces for up to 96 hours.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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