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Wipe Before You Swipe: Keeping Tech Germ-Free

You’ve heard it over and over again: Don’t touch your face and wash your hands! But what about those devices that are constantly in your hands? Some even touch your face!

We did the dirty work for you to find these recommendations from leading technology companies, so you can keep using your tech and keep your hands clean, too.

Phones

Your phone is dirty, whether you want to believe it or not. See that photo above? OhioHealth’s Infection Prevention Team used germ-simulating powder and a UV light to demonstrate just how fast germs can spread from your hands to your devices. It’s gross to think about, but your phone touches all kinds of surfaces and may sometimes be handled by other people.

Studies have shown that COVID-19 can live on surfaces in the right conditions from a few hours to up to a week. So every time you pick up your phone, you could be transferring germs to your hands. Even if you’re washing your hands often, if you’re not washing you phone, too, you’re just defeating the purpose.

So what should you do to vanquish the virus?

Apple says to use a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox disinfecting wipe, not bleach. Gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your phone and avoid getting moisture in any openings. Don’t submerge your phone in any cleaning agents.

Clean Laptop Keyboard

Tablets and computers

Computers and tablets also come into contact with questionable surfaces, and are probably even more likely than your phone to be handled by others.

Apple recommends the same cleaning products you use for your phone for “hard, nonporous surfaces.” This includes your tablet, computer and headphones.

HP says for computers, you can use a manufacturer-approved cleaning wipe, a cleaning and disinfecting germicidal wipe, or a water-dampened cloth. Microfiber cloths, chamois (static-free cloth without oil), or static-free cloth wipes are preferred.

And according to HP’s disinfecting and cleaning protocols, the best way to clean your computer is to start with the top of the display monitor and proceed to accessories, like your keyboard and mouse. Finish with cables, like your charger. Ensure that the germicidal wipes remain wet during the process. And that keyboard cover of yours? HP says it doesn’t replace the need to clean and disinfect the keyboard beneath.


Extra steps for all devices

Now you know which products you need, and how to use them. But HP says there are some additional steps you can take when cleaning any device to prevent the spread of germs.

  1. Begin by washing your hands.
  2. Put on clean, nonsterile gloves, if available.
  3. After you’ve cleaned and disinfected the device, allow it to air-dry. Air-drying is important because it allows the disinfectant to do its job. Don’t be tempted to wipe up the moisture!
  4. Remove your gloves.
  5. Wash your hands again.

HP also recommends daily cleaning, if not more often, depending on how much you use your device and how dirty gets.

If you work in a hospital or medical setting, check to see if your facility has policies detailing how often you should be cleaning devices in patient settings.

Having a clean device helps prevent germs from getting to your hands and face, but cleaning your tech isn’t an end game either. Social distancing, isolating yourself if you are showing symptoms, general hygiene and constant hand-washing are all best practices when it comes to COVID-19 prevention.

 

 

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