When and How to Clean Your Phone During the COVID-19 Outbreak

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to clean commonly touched surfaces.
One type of surface that we touch frequently is our phone touch screen.
Phone touch screens can usually be cleaned using disinfecting wipes, but check with the maker of your phone first.
Frequency of cleaning will vary depending on your habits and the likelihood of exposure.
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With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, there has been much attention placed on preventive actionsTrusted Source, such as handwashing, staying home when we are sick, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces.

Regarding the latter, however, there is one type of surface that we may be neglecting: the touch screens and carrying cases for our phones.

“Touch screens on our devices are an often overlooked source of microbes that can be brought into our personal space,” noted Dr. David Westenberg, associate professor of biological sciences at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

In fact, numerous studiesTrusted Source have found that our cellphones can be carriers of microbial life forms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

While many of these are harmless, according to Westenberg, there are also disease-causing organisms like the SARS-CoV-2 virus that can survive on surfaces long enough to be transmitted to you or another person.

 

Do you need to be cleaning your phone?

If you are washing your hands already, just how important is it to also clean your phone?

Westenberg said that if people wash their hands before touching their devices, that would ordinarily be enough to prevent us from transferring the virus through touch.

“However, as often as we touch our devices, washing our hands before every new contact with the device would be impractical,” he said.

In fact, according to a 2019 survey by research firm dscout, the average person touches their cellphone 2,617 times daily.

In light of this fact, Westenberg said wiping down the touch screens and cases of our phones “should be a part of our routine.”