TECH-MONDAY: How to Disinfect your Phone from Coronavirus without Damaging the Screen

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You use your phone regularly, whether it’s answering a call, Chatting or reading up on the latest news.

And studies have found the novel Coronavirus may be able to survive on some surfaces for up to and maybe even longer than nine days — including your beloved phone. Any germ that makes its way onto your phone or case could transfer to your skin, too.

Washing your hands the right way can help keep you and your loved ones from transmitting the virus, but what about cleaning your phone?

The good news is that disinfecting your electronic device has officially become easier. Samsung says on its website that you can use an alcohol-based solution (70%) and apply it to your phone with a microfiber cloth.

However, there are still cleaning agents and techniques to avoid. While you might initially see good results, these harsher methods can eventually damage the screen (or possibly the internal components) that you’re working so hard to protect.

We’re going to tell you the best ways to disinfect your phone and clean off fingerprint smudges, sand and lint from the ports and tenacious makeup off the screen.

Disinfect your phone: Wipes, not pure alcohol

If you touch your phone after touching a public door handle or grocery cart, you may immediately think to clean it with rubbing alcohol. Don’t. Straight alcohol can strip the oleophobic and hydrophobic coatings that keep oil and water from damaging your display and other ports.

Some websites suggest creating a mix of alcohol and water yourself, but it’s crucial to get the concentration right. Get it wrong and you could damage your phone.

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The safest bet is to use disinfectant wipes that contain 70% alcohol to clean your phone screen.

How to clean fingerprint smudges from your screen

Fingerprint smudges are hard to prevent because your skin constantly produces oils. That means that every time you pick up your phone, it’s bound to get fingerprints all over it.

The safest and most effective way to clean your screen is with a microfiber cloth. If the screen is in desperate need of cleaning, use distilled water to dampen the microfiber cloth and then wipe down your screen — avoid squirting the water directly on the screen. This method can be used on the back and sides of your phone, too.

Remove sand and lint with this trick

Lint and sand can get stuck in the small ports of your phone and in the crevices where the screen meets the body.

The best solution for removing sand and lint is Scotch tape. You can lay it along the creases and speaker, and roll it up and gently place it in the ports. The tape’s stickiness will pull out any lint or sand that may be stuck in your phone.

Remove makeup safely

When you have a full face of makeup and need to make a call, guess what that foundation is about to stick to? That’s right, your phone screen.

And while you may use makeup remover to take off your makeup every night, you shouldn’t use it as a screen cleaner due to some chemicals that could be lurking in the ingredients.

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Use a damp microfiber cloth to clean it — and then throw that cloth in the wash. Make sure to use a spray bottle to spritz the cloth, rather than running it under water. The less water, the better.

Can you wash waterproof phones?

If you have a water-resistant phone, rated for IP67 and above, you can rinse it with water. Although these phones, like the iPhone 7 and newer and the Galaxy S phones, can withstand submersion for up to 30 minutes in up to 3 feet of water, it’s a much better idea to use a damp or wet cloth to clean your phone. Then dry your phone with a dry, soft cloth to remove the water. Make sure to pat dry all speakers and ports.

Dunking the phone in water or running it under a faucet will get water into the ports, which means you won’t be able to charge it until they’re dry, and that can take time. Remember that having a water-resistant phone is more about peace of mind than it is about purposely taking your phone for a swim.

This article first appeared at Cnet.com | edited by Faith Mutuku on Mt. Kenya Journal