Elevator buttons, handrails, gas pumps, door handles, etc. It’s impossible to avoid germ-infested surfaces in our daily lives, which is why it’s essential to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. But even though there’s no way to guarantee that all public surfaces are routinely sanitized, there is one surface that regularly comes in contact with your hands and face that you do have control over – your cell phone.
Step-by-step instructions for how to safely clean your phone without ruining it
- Remove your phone case and power down your device.
- Polish with a microfiber cloth. Gently wipe the exterior of your phone with a clean microfiber cloth to get rid of smudges and crud. “This will physically remove germs, due to the friction between the cloth and the glass surface,” Forte says. That doesn’t mean it will kill germs, but it will lift them from the surface. Microfiber does this better than a washcloth or a paper towel could since the fibers have more surface area for trapping dirt and they absorb grease well.
- Next, reach for a Lysol disinfecting wipe. Lysol products are marketed to shoppers as being safe for topical use on electronics, Forte says, adding that they’ll effectively neutralize any leftover germs. “If the wipe is excessively wet, wring it out first,” says Forte. Then, gently wipe down every surface of your phone while avoiding the ports.
- Let your phone air dry for a minimum of 5 minutes. Like most disinfectants, Lysol spray is most effective if left to air dry on surfaces for at least 10 minutes. But even if you don’t leave your phone wet for that long, “a Lysol wipe will sanitize your phone greatly,” Forte explains, as the manufacturer says these wipes only need four minutes to disinfect.
- Reach for a clean paper towel or microfiber cloth. Wipe away any leftover moisture. Ideally, you shouldn’t be using the same microfiber cloth as in step 2, but another one that you’ve recently washed with the help of a laundry sanitizer (like Lysol Laundry Sanitizer). “Some microfiber cloths can be bleached, but not all. Dirty clothes should be cleaned regularly to avoid re-depositing soil back on surfaces and prevent the spread of germs,” Forte says. “Regular washcloths can be washed with bleach. Both regular and microfiber cloths can also be boiled for a few minutes.”
- Finally, clean your phone case. Repeat the same process with your phone case, but note that you can use more astringent cleaners, as most phone cases are made from durable hard plastic. Apple maintains that you shouldn’t use bleach on accessories that contain fabric or leather surfaces.
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