The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we live, and that is no exaggeration. Entire states have declared lockdowns, residents have been instructed to practice social distancing and to stay home. There seems to be no near end in sight yet as cases of patients confirmed positive of the virus have been steadily increasing. If we are forced to see any upside to what’s happening, it’s that everyone has become more conscious of personal hygiene. All around the world, authorities have regularly campaigned for the public to adhere to sanitation practices like the 20-second rule of handwashing, keeping our hands away from our faces, and maintaining proper coughing and sneezing behavior. For us who can’t seem to live without a social media update every hour, good hygiene should also mean making sure our gadgets are virus-free.
There is still no documentation of the COVID-19 virus being transmitted through surfaces, as the most common means of transmission current is through direct human contact or respiratory droplets. However, health authorities such as the CDC suggest that surfaces should still be cleaned, as recent studies have shown that the virus can actually last for hours to days on some surfaces. Thus, cleaning and disinfecting are still widely advised as effective ways of preventing COVID-19. So, how do you exactly clean your gadgets without damaging them?
Virus, virus go away!
Since phones come from various manufacturers, practices may vary, although there are some common guidelines that you can follow no matter what brand your phone is. To start, make sure your phone is not plugged to any cable and all protective cases are removed. Lint-free, soft cloth, like those made of microfiber or those used in cleaning camera lenses is recommended. A dampened cloth should also be used to wipe any smudges, although you need to make sure there’s no excess moisture that may get into the open ports.
Another possibility is to buy a screen protector and place it on top of your phone display. The better ones are glass and usually run from around $7 to $40 for a pack of two or three, depending on your phone model. If you clean a screen protector using a light solution of alcohol and water, it shouldn’t damage your phone’s actual display. Screen protectors have the additional advantage that they prevent your display from being accidentally scratched or cracked, although they can be a real pain to install and may make your display slightly less sensitive to your touch.
But then, if we’re trying to get rid of germs and viruses, simple wiping will not cut it. Health experts have advised that the coronavirus has a fat coating that can only be destroyed by either soap and water or alcohol. Doublecheck with your phone manufacturer’s website whether you can use soap to clean your phone, though. For example, cloth dampened with soapy water is recommended by Apple, but only for the iPhone 11 line. Meanwhile, Samsung does not recommend soap to clean your handset. Disinfectant wipes are okay with Google, Samsung, and Apple, as long as they do not contain bleach.
Using a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol is an effective method but using more than 50 per cent alcohol can also risk damaging the screen. If the chemical coating is removed, it is still possible to reapply it using a simple application kit.
How about your other gizmos?
Don’t forget your tablets and laptop (which you will be using a lot for your telecommute)! Same with smartphones, you may clean them with dry lint cloth, then slightly dampened cloth for the screen. For disinfecting action, disinfectant wipes that do not contain bleach are recommended. Mice and external keyboards may be cleaned with compressed air, which only removes particles and dust, but not germs.
Think about the gear that you’re in contact with most often, like your keyboard and mouse. These peripherals are a little bit more hardy than your smartphone, so you can take more aggressive measures, like that can of compressed air we mentioned.
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