Your mobile phone is a personal object so it spends a lot of time close to your face. And you might think that because it’s personal to you alone, touched only by you, that it’s not worth worrying about the germs that might potentially be on it. But, COVID-19 germs can live on surfaces for up to nine days. That can mean, that if you touch your phone, then your face and some other objects and surfaces, that any germs there can be easily transferred. Here are some tips to keep your mobile phone germ-free and safe.

Your mobile phone could carry the coronavirus for up to nine days

Wash your hands first

As per our guidelines for cleaning your laptop, keyboard, screen and mouse, you need to make sure your hands are clean first, as per the NHS guidelines, before undertaking any cleaning of your equipment.

Cleaning your mobile phone

Even without an outbreak of coronavirus, it’s a good idea to sanitise your mobile phone frequently, as it spends so much time close to your nose and mouth. However, mobile phone manufacturers do not recommend alcohol gel, disinfectant wipes or hand sanitiser since all of these can damage screens’ protective coatings. And actually, damaging this coating could mean that germs find it easier to stick to.

First, power down your phone and unplug it. Your phone should never have any solution sprayed directly onto it; as with hand-washing, a soap and warm-water solution is recommended, but very sparingly, onto a microfibre cloth if your phone is water-resistant. Most are, but check your specification with the manufacturers beforehand.

You can use an alcohol-based cleaner or wipe on your mobile phone case however, which should be removed from your phone before cleaning. The worst-case scenario is that your case deteriorates due to the chemicals in the solution, but at least this can be easily replaced.

Keep your personal mobile phone, personal

When you’re not using your mobile phone, put it away in your pocket or bag. This keeps it free from other people’s germs that are expelled into the air and might land on it.

If you want to show somebody something funny or interesting on your mobile phone, think twice. A natural reaction is for the person to pinch and stretch the image by touching your screen. They may also cough or sneeze onto your device, which could transmit germs onto your phone’s surface, when it could just have been safely in your bag or pocket.

It’s a difficult time and questioning some things that we do instinctively doesn’t necessarily come easily. But there are some easy things we can do, and stop doing, that might just help to keep us and our colleagues, friends and family, a little bit safer.

If you are worried about coronavirus and would like further information on what you can do to stay safe, please refer to official published announcements, such as BBC health news and NHS 111 contact page.

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