Throughout the day, most people will likely touch a cell phone multiple times. So, disinfecting a phone could help to slow or prevent the spread of infection. But unlike the hands, phones are impossible to wash with soap and water. Therefore, cell phones are a potentially dangerous source of viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.

What to use to disinfect phones

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using a solution that contains at least 70% alcohol to disinfect phones.

Some products that meet these requirements include:
-alcohol-based disinfectant wipes or sprays, containing at least 70% alcohol
-diluted rubbing alcohol
-some alcohol pads doctors use for sanitizing skin before injections and other procedures.

People should follow the phone manufacturer’s instructions and disinfection guides. For example, Apple and Samsung recommend using Clorox wipes, 70% alcohol wipes, or 70% alcohol solution on a microfiber cloth. To reduce the risk of damaging the phone, wipes may be a better alternative than sprays. By using a spray, the solution may pool on the phone and cause internal damage.

What not to use to disinfect phones

Many of the products on the EPA’s recommended list contain ammonia, bleach, lactic acid, or hydrogen peroxide. While these can safely clean surfaces and phone cases, they are not suitable for electronics such as cell phones.

It is advisable to avoid using the following products:
– general-purpose household cleaners, especially those that contain bleach
– makeup remover
– antibacterial wipes that do not contain 70% alcohol or another product on the EPA’s list
– wound cleaners
– soap
– vinegar.

How to disinfect

To disinfect a phone, carefully read the instructions on the product label. Some spray products may require the solution to air dry for as long as 10 minutes. If the phone dries before the recommended saturation time on the label, disinfecting may not be as effective. However, the CDC reports that hospital-grade sanitizers may work in as little as 1 minute. Disinfecting a phone can spread germs to the hands, and from the hands back to the phone. Therefore, it is best to wash hands before and after disinfecting. Read a guide for disinfecting your phone the right way here.

How often to disinfect

CDC recommends disinfecting all frequently touched surfaces, such as phones, doorknobs, and remote controls, daily. In some situations, it may be appropriate to disinfect more frequently.
Doing so can greatly reduce exposure to viruses, bacteria, and other dangerous sources of infection.

Consider disinfecting a phone in the following circumstances:
– afterward another person uses or borrows it
– after sneezing or coughing while holding the phone
– after dropping it, especially if it falls outside of the household or on a potentially contaminated surface
– later that using the phone in public.

Frequent hand washing can only do so much if a person often comes into contact with other sources of contamination. Many people carry their phones everywhere, and most spend time on the phone at least daily. Disinfecting a phone can slow and potentially even prevent the spread of dangerous infections.

For public places like shopping malls, etc. there is a great solution – disinfection charging stations. Check more information here.

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