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Smartphone hygiene

People tend to take their smartphone wherever they go. They use their fingers to access the touchscreen features and hold the phone to their ear. But do they ever think of cleaning it? In this health tip we show you how to keep your smartphone clean.

Regularly washing our hands, brushing our teeth and taking a shower are normal parts of our everyday routine. We also regularly clean our apartments, clothing and cars, but many people forget to clean their smartphone.

Since bacteria or viruses can easily build up on a phone’s surface, it should be cleaned from time to time. Here are a few tips for you.

Wiping bacteria from your phone
The easiest way to remove bacteria and viruses from your touchscreen is to use a dry microfibre cloth, perhaps with a little disinfectant. If you decide to use some liquid, be sure to spray it onto the cloth and not the screen – not all smartphones are waterproof! According to a German study, 80% of germs can be removed using a dry cloth while a special glass-cleaning cloth impregnated with alcohol will remove up to 95%.

There are other items which can also be used to clean smartphones: dry cotton buds, toothpicks and anti-bacterial putty (sold under the brand name “Cyber Clean”). This is a sticky putty-like substance which is rubbed over the smartphone and picks up the germs. It can also be used to clean keyboards and remote control units.

Ultraviolet (UV) light against bacteria
The technical solution in the battle against bacteria is to expose the smartphone to UV light because it is known to kill bacteria. There are now several providers of “disinfection devices” for home use. These are small boxes – not much bigger than the packaging for a smartphone – into which you can place your phone. The claim is that a brief period of irradiation will clean the phone of bacteria.

Keeping bacteria off your phone
Since we use our fingers to operate our smartphones, it’s a good idea to wash your hands regularly, which means that fewer bacteria get onto the phone in the first place. Keeping your phone in a special cover will also help keep bacteria at bay. In fact, manufacturers already produce covers with an integrated microfibre surface, combining protection and cleaning.