How to protect your phone against viruses and bacteria

Cleaning wipes

Right now, it’s more important than ever to protect your smartphone against viruses and bacteria – for your own health, as well as others. Read on to find out how to clean your phone properly, without damaging the device or screen

According to a recent study by RescueTime, most of us handle our smartphone around 58 times per day, on average.

That's bad news for our health. Because mobile phones harbour a plethora of germs and bacteria, there’s a much higher chance of infection if you’ve handled your device then touched your face.

To that end, it helps to clean your phone as thoroughly and frequently as you’d wash your hands – especially during the current coronavirus outbreak.

So, to help keep your smartphone as clean as possible, here’s some practical tips you can follow:

How to get started

iPhone accessories

First, gather together your phone and accessories: charger, headphones, phone case, the lot.

Then, unplug your device, turn it off, and remove the case. After that you can get to work on giving your handset and each item a deep clean.

Manufactures have different guidelines on cleaning their handsets (more on that in a moment).

For now, though, there’s three essential things you’ll need to get started:

  • Micofibre cloth - Experts recommend using a damp lint-free, microfibre cloth to clean your device as they are less likely to cause damage to your screen. These are the same kind of cloths used to clean the lenses inside glasses.
  • Soap – any soap will do, including mild hand wash. If you can, avoid chemical substances like hand gels, wipes and spray though. These can easily damage your phone’s protective coating.
  • Water – from the tap. But don’t hold your phone under the water, for obvious reasons. Even a phone with a high ISP rating is at risk of damage.

Why only soap and water?

Well, a recent study by the BBC showed that soap and water alone was enough to rid your phone of practically all germs and bacteria that might be living on it.

Plus, most phone manufactures warn against using any form of cleaning product with chemicals on your phone, as this might damage the screen.

And don’t worry too much if you can’t get your hands on a microfibre cloth. Kitchen roll works well too, but make sure you don’t rub too hard on your phones surface and only damp the cloth - don’t soak it under water.

How to clean your phone

Start off by dampening your microfibre cloth under tap water, and applying soap. Take care not to soak the cloth under water. The cloth must be damp, not soaking.

Next, gently rub the cloth across the back, front and sides of your device. Do this a couple of times if you’d like.

Get into nooks and crannies

When cleaning your phone, take care not to get moisture into the hard to reach areas like the headphone jack, charging port.

We know this is easier said than done so, to avoid any damage, use a cotton swab to gently clean the inside of the ports and around the camera lens.

Lastly, leave your phone somewhere to dry for a few minutes. When you come back to it, it’ll look as good as new.

How to clean your phone case

How you go about cleaning your phone case depends on what material its made of...

  • If you have a silicon case, running it under the tap and applying some soap is absolutely fine.
  • For leather cases, we recommend dabbing leather cleaning soap – like Ariat saddle soap – onto a microfibre cloth and wiping the case. If you have a leather iPhone case, Apple recommends using soap and water. Bear in mind, though, it also says that cleaning the case may affect its colour.
  • If you have a glass case, avoid using any type of solvent, window or household cleaner. This goes for smart battery cases, too. Instead, use a damp micro fibre cloth.

How to clean your phone charger and headphones

To clean your phone charger and headphone wires, simply use an antibacterial wipe to rub up and down the wire.

How to clean your Samsung Galaxy

To clean your Samsung Galaxy phone, avoid using alcohol wipes.

Instead, Samsung says to wipe the front of the surface with a soft, lint-free microfibre cloth. Luckily, most microfibre clothes are lint free, anyway.

And, as we said above, Samsung warns against applying liquid-based substances, or spraying any liquids onto the phone.

How to clean your iPhone

According to Apple, you can clean your iPhone safely with 70% isopropyl wipes. These are the same kind of wipes you can pick up for computer screens in stores or online.

As we say, though, if you can’t get your hands on wipes soap and water will do the job.

How can I be sure my phone is germ-free?

Washing hands

Aside from cleaning your phone regularly, if you want to be absolutely sure it’s not harbouring any germs, you can purchase a UV phone sanitizer.

Now, we should say that these devices aren’t proven to be effective. But most Amazon reviews say they work. So, if you want extra piece of mind, you can pick up a device from XXX.

Remember, though, one you’ve cleaned your phone and touched it again, you’ve spread germs. So make sure you clean it as much as possible.

Finally…

Keeping your hands as clean as possible is the most effective thing you can do to avoid a germ-infested smartphone. So keep washing your hands as much as possible.

Lastly, be mindful of where you put your phone. If you can, try not to carry it around with all of the time – to the bathroom, for example. And remember to clean it as frequently as you can.