Your Phone Probably Won’t Give You Coronavirus, But Here’s How to Clean It Anyway

You aren’t likely to get coronavirus from personal tech devices you don’t share with others, but cleaning them is still a good idea. 

As governments, event organizers, and businesses have ramped up their response to the Coronavirus, now officially deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization, normal people have responded in a lot of different ways. Some of these, like sharing hand-washing memes and stocking up on hand-sanitizer (even when it’s crazy expensive), make a lot of sense. Others, like the celebrity hazmat suit craze and the run on perishable oat milk, boggle the mind.

So, where on this spectrum from common sense, science-backed preventative measures to pure insanity does constantly stressing out about your germed-up your phone fall? If Google Trends is any indication, a lot of folks are curious.

It’s no secret that our phones are cesspools of bacteria. But according to experts on infectious diseases, when it comes to Coronavirus, they really aren’t the biggest risks.

“The likely contamination [of Coronavirus] from someone else to your personal device is low,” explains Dr. Jack Caravanos, a Clinical Professor of Global and Environmental Health at the NYU School of Global Public Health. Caravanos says it’s unlikely that any of us will get Coronavirus from personal items, like our phones, laptops, and keys.

“Other people don’t use your phone. Touching your phone only puts you at risk, if you’re already contaminated or if you touch something that’s contaminated and then you infect it that way,” he says. “But that’s sort of on the low scale.” It’s far more important, he notes, to pay attention to anything that is shared. “Whether it’s a doorknob, a toilet handle, a tray table at an airport, or something like a remote control, which we share in a family all the time, those are the critical items.”

Out of an abundance of caution (and because Coronavirus isn’t the only thing that can live on a touch screen), it’s still probably not a bad idea to clean your personal tech. And the best way to do that is with a disinfectant wipe (most are currently out of stock, so you’ll need to purchase them in person at the grocery store). In fact, Apple recently confirmed that using a disinfectant wipe is perfectly fine on any of its phones, tablets, or computers. The following now appears atop Apple’s support page on cleaning your phone: “Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your iPhone. Don’t use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any openings, and don’t submerge your iPhone in any cleaning agents.”

Safe to say there shouldn’t be any risk in doing this on your other devices as well. “Once a day, at most, is probably good enough,” said Caravanos.

As long as you’re also following the guidelines set by the WHO—washing your hands and using hand-sanitizer whenever you might come into contact with a public surface, trying to generally keep at a distance from others, avoiding touching your face, and calling your doctor if you feel like you have symptoms—disinfecting your phone is another smart step you can take.

This article Your Phone Probably Won’t Give You Coronavirus, But Here’s How to Clean It Anyway originally appeared on GQ.com

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