How to Disinfect Your Phones and Electronics From Viruses and Germs?
The COVID-19 pandemic has the whole world on edge. People are making an extra effort not to come in contact with other people more than necessary. At the same time, they disinfect surfaces in the household and at work to get rid of any potential germs, viruses, or bacteria that may have gathered there. We’re even more careful about touching our faces with our hands, using lots of hand sanitizer and soap as often as we can. But amid all these precautions, people often tend to overlook something that could be a potential vector for the virus – the electronic gadgets they use every day.
Disinfecting Your Devices Correctly
We all have a number of common devices that we use on a daily basis. Our smartphones, to help us communicate, surf, browse, play games, and even download mobile apps for business. We have TV’s that we use for entertainment like movies, TV shows, and even games. That’s not to mention our earphones, PCs, laptops, game controllers, and so much more. Imagine if any of those devices contained traces of the virus or other harmful bacteria. They’re invisible to the naked eye, so you would never know if a surface that looks clean is actually clean. Now, before you throw your devices into the incinerator, there are less extreme ways to disinfect them. Here’s how you can disinfect your most used electronics:
- Tablets and Smartphones
- Laptops and Macbooks
- Desktop PC and Mac
- Smartwatches and Fitbits
Let’s dive right into it.
Tablets and Smartphones
Smart devices like tablets and modern smartphones are commonly found in nearly every household in the United States. But have you ever considered how clean the surface of your smartphone or tablet is? The friend you handed your phone to get their phone hotspot password had to type it in. Were their hands clean? What about the colleague you were showing a business article to? They may have touched your phone for a second or two. But even a second or two could be enough to transfer the virus from an infected person onto your device.
However, there is no need to toss it into a bucket of bleach, which will ruin the oleophobic surface anyway. This is one of the biggest challenges with cleaning devices like this. The oleophobic layer is there to prevent fingerprint stains on your phone’s surface. Strong cleaners are considered likely to damage this layer. However, in the face of a global pandemic, many smartphone manufacturers have revised their cleaning instructions. Apple recommends using either Clorox Disinfecting Wipes or a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe. In either case, you need to ensure no moisture gets into your device via any pores on the surface. It is best to give your device and cover a quick rubdown with the wipe, wait for it to dry, and wash your own hands afterward.
Laptops and Macbooks
Laptops and Apple Macbooks are very commonly found devices in modern households. People use them for work, studying, gaming, and streaming. More intensive users will use them to fool around with graphics design, music mixing, or even setting advanced security filters on their router. Whatever you use it for, the surface, especially the keyboards and the screens of most laptops, are bound to be carrying all sorts of nasty germs. This is because a laptop is by nature a whole lot more mobile than a desktop PC, which means it comes in contact with different surfaces at different places.
However, there is no need to panic. The first thing you need to do is flip your laptop upside-down and shake out any dust, dirt, food particles, or other grime that may have accumulated. This will take care of the largest particles. The next step involves using a can of compressed air to blast out smaller and more stubborn invaders.
For the next step, you need to unplug your laptop or Mac and take out the battery. Use a slightly damp microfiber cloth thoroughly on all metal or plastic surfaces on your laptop. LCD screens are delicate, so make sure you use special screen cleaners that won’t harm them. An OLED touch screen will require a special 3M wipe.
Desktop PC and Mac
You might think your desktop PC is safe since fewer people use it or touch it and it doesn’t really go anywhere. But it is still sensible to give it a regular disinfecting treatment to keep things safe and virus-free (not the malware kind). Dampen a microfiber cloth with distilled water or special screen cleaner and apply it to your monitor screen. However, for most plastic/metal parts you can use a regular window cleaner like Windex with a damp cloth to wipe it down.
The true wireless trend means you can keep peripherals like a wireless mouse, keyboard, or speaker with you even if you’re not near your PC. Unfortunately, this usually results in a mess of crumbs since many people develop a habit of eating while handling their PCs. You can clean out the keyboard by shaking out the larger crumbs and blasting compressed air to get rid of the smaller ones.
It is impossible to consider a life without earphones, whether wired or wireless. They help us listen to music, watch videos, and catch useful podcasts. In fact, it was while listening to a podcast on what is the coronavirus that I learned that headphones or earphones can be big sources of bacteria and nasty viruses. That’s not to mention the sweat, grime, and earwax they come into contact with on a daily basis.
Under no conditions, especially the current ones, should you share your headphones or earphones with anyone? However, you should still clean them regularly. Over-ear headphones are easily cleaned with a damp microfiber cloth and a little water.
However, smaller in-ear versions like the Apple Airpods or the Samsung Buds are only meant to be cleaned with a microfiber cloth. Don’t be tempted to use water or anything. If you have a problem with wax or grit, some adhesive slime can help you get rid of it.
Smartwatches and Fitbits
Smartwatches and Fitbits are great for living health and tracking fitness. But if you want to use them during the pandemic, our coronavirus survival guide will likely have to step in. These devices come in contact with a lot of sweat, and possibly dust and dirt too. Both fitness trackers and smartwatches are somewhat resistant to water. That means a microfiber cloth and some distilled water should be enough to clean the watch or Fitbit itself. However, you may have to try different things with the band, depending on what you have.
Rubber straps can be cleaned with water or rubbing alcohol. Sometimes, however, sunscreen lotions and creams can leave marks on these bands. In this case, light use of gentle skin cleansers can help you get rid of most offending stains. However, more persistent ones may require the use of a rubber eraser. However, be careful not to take layers off your strap.
Nylon is easier to wash with just water and dish detergent. Metal bands may require a little bit of water and lint-free cloth. You may also use polish for discoloration, but be sure to rinse it off before you put on the watch.
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