What the Tech: Is your iPhone screen a Petri dish? Here’s how to safely clean it

As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 surges across the country, medical professionals say children are most at risk.
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 3:34 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2022 at 5:04 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 surges across the country, medical professionals say children are most at risk.

While there are many ways the virus can be transmitted from one person to the other, it is a good idea to reconsider smartphones and other devices and how they are used by several people each day.

I don’t know of many adults who willingly let someone else use or even handle their smartphone, kids and children, on the other hand, think nothing of handing someone their device to take a photo or watch a TikTok video.

Young children who do not own a smartphone are often handed their parent’s phones for entertainment.

We are all familiar with how dirty phones get during the day. It’s no wonder as people pick up their smartphone thousands of times a day.

When you think about coming home from work and handing that phone to a young child, it may make you think twice about cleaning it.

When was the last time you disinfected your smartphone?

Apple and other smartphone makers released new information about cleaning and disinfecting their devices last year, saying it is okay to disinfect a phone with a Clorox or other brand of disinfecting wipe clothes.

The only caveat is that the wipes must not contain bleach which can damage the phone’s screen. Look for the ingredient Sodium Hypochlorite (bleach). If you see that in the ingredients do not use it to clean any smartphone or other electronics.

You can also safely clean a device using 70% isopropyl alcohol. To do this safely, dip a clean microfiber cloth into the alcohol so that the cloth is damp, not soaking wet.

Then carefully wipe down the phone front and back and wipe down the case as well. You may also want to turn off the phone before cleaning to avoid opening apps or accidentally calling someone.

Pay close attention to where you wipe the phone so as not to let moisture in the charging port or earphone jack (if your phone has one of those).

If the phone’s screen or back is cracked, it may be best to use the cloth only slightly dampened so as not to allow moisture through the cracks. Then, wipe down the phone again using a second, dry microfiber cloth. Do not use paper towels as they can scratch the phone’s screen.

You might also want to use a device that disinfects the phone and other objects using UV light.

Phone Soap is a box that safely disinfects a smartphone, killing up to 99.9% of bacteria. Just place the phone in the box and close. It turns on automatically. You’ll need to leave the phone in the Phone Soap box for 10 minutes to disinfect the phone. You can also use the Phone Soap device to disinfect car keys, earbuds, and any other daily object that will fit inside.

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