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We’re more than halfway through this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, and, by now, we all know how important it is to follow social distancing rules, wear face masks outdoors, and always wash our hands. The COVID-19 pandemic rages on both here and abroad, and the best way we can prevent ourselves and others from catching the virus is by following public safety measures and practicing good personal hygiene.  

But as obsessive as we might be about using hand sanitizers and soap to keep our hands squeaky clean, we could still be overlooking the things we tend to touch most – our smartphones, tablets, laptops, gamepads, remote controls, and other go-to gadgets. 

Each time we pick up or touch one of these items, we may be transferring the bacteria on our hands onto the screen, keyboard, or other surfaces. In fact, at least one 2012 study by the University of Arizona found that our cellphones can carry up to 10 times more bacteria than a toilet, given how seldom we clean the former. And if that alone wasn’t enough to make your skin crawl, then the growing number of positive cases being reported on the daily news should. 

Luckily, most of the things you will need to keep your gadgets clean are already in your home or can be readily available at a supermarket or hardware store. Depending on your budget, free time, and level of patience, you can go with the more convenient if somewhat more expensive store-bought electronics, or choose to go the DIY route with the household materials you have.     

To be sure, it can all feel a little bit tedious, but disinfecting our often used devices is another way to ensure that we and our loved ones can stay safe and healthy during this pandemic. Even Apple, which used to discourage people from using disinfecting wipes on its products, now says it’s okay to use wipes with 70% isopropyl solution on hard, nonporous surfaces like displays, provided you don’t use bleach and are careful not to get moisture into openings.

So to help you properly clean your gadgets on the regular, follow these #TechAssured tips:

Switch off gadgets – Be sure to power down your device, unplug cables from wall outlets, and remove the battery if at all possible before you start cleaning. In this way, you can avoid a potential short circuit or accidentally opening apps, plus the surface you’re cleaning more clearly. 

Protective Cases – Phone cases and the like not only protect your gadgets from accidental drops and scratches, but those made of silicon or leather even keep viruses from living as long on the surface compared with all-glass or plastic backs. Still, these cases need to be cleaned regularly with non-abrasive wipes or sprays to help keep your device COVID-free.

Keep moisture out – Avoid getting moisture into the openings of your gadgets such as the USB and charging ports or headphone jack, as this is one of the major causes of electronic system-failure. Spray only a small amount of the cleaning solution onto a piece of cloth – never directly at the gadget you’re cleaning – and carefully wipe down the sides and surfaces of said device.

Save Your Screens – Some smartphones and other touchscreen gadgets come with fingerprint-resistant coating to prevent oil or grease from your hands from sticking on the surface. These can be damaged by abrasive cleaning products such as alcohol, so it may be better to attach a screen protector before using disinfectants.  

Water it down – Create a milder cleaning solution at home by mixing water with 70% isopropyl alcohol, then apply to specially chosen cloth for cleaning keyboards and exterior surfaces of phones, tablets, and such.

Disinfecting Wipes – Some manufacturers and experts still disagree on the matter, but the general consensus is that you can also help keep your gadgets corona-free with made-for-devices disinfecting wipes like Wireless Wipes, Care Touch Lens Cleaning Wipes, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Well-Kept Screen-Cleansing Towelettes, or any 70% isopropyl wipes that are likewise proven to kill germs and viruses. One thing everyone does agree on, however, is that you should NEVER use bleach to clean your devices.

 

Microfiber Cloth – Microfiber cloth comes in handy when it comes to cleaning gadgets. Use slightly damp lint-free microfiber cloth to remove gunk and germs on screens and other nonporous surfaces without leaving any scratches.

UV Light – While they aren’t widely used, UV light sterilizers are also recommended by some brands and can be purchased online by those who’d want to go the extra mile. Not only has it been shown to kill germs and bacteria on their gadgets in just a matter of minutes, but UV-C light is also more environmentally friendly and reduces the need for harsher, more harmful chemicals found in some wipes and sprays.  

Dry Your Device – Some newer devices, like water-resistant Samsung smartphones, are designed not to charge or switch on when moisture is detected. This is meant to prevent corrosion and other, more serious mishaps. In any case, you may opt to dry your device with some cloth or else allow the moisture to naturally evaporate with time.

Wash Your Hands (again) –  After cleaning your device, remember to wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. It may seem rather redundant, but it’s still better to play it extra safe as coronavirus has been known to last on surfaces anywhere from several hours to days, and may have transferred to your palms and fingers while you were in the process of disinfecting your gadgets. 

DIY Tutorials – There are any number of good YouTube videos that offer step-by-step tips on how to effectively clean your gadgets. These are highly recommended for visual learners and young kids, and can even be paused so you can follow the instructions more carefully.

It certainly doesn’t hurt to follow the how-to guides on keeping your gadgets clean at a time like this, but medical experts maintain that the chances of catching a virus-like COVID-19 from your phone or other device is still minimal compared to being exposed to people who are already infected with the disease. For your continued safety, you should still refrain from leaving home and going to crowded public places, as well as disinfect your hands, clothing, belongings, and surroundings as routinely as possible.

For more gadget pointers and #LifePowered updates, #CheckCyberzone online.

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