Special Report

Coronavirus Cleaning Tips for Your Phone, Tablet and Other Devices

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1. Cell phones

The two leading cell-phone makers updated their websites to inform customers how to clean those devices. Apple said on its website that iPhones can be safely cleaned with disinfectant wipes, including products such as Clorox sheets. Samsung said you can wipe down the device with a microfiber cloth containing an alcohol-based solution (70%). A National Institute of Infectious Disease study of mobile phones from 2017 found a median of more than 17,000 bacterial gene copies on each.

2. Tablets

A tablet is a portable computer such as an iPad. You can use alcohol-based agents to clean your device and attention should be paid to the screen and buttons. Remove any case on the tablet and clean underneath. When you put the case back on, wipe down the outside of it.

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3. Phone chargers

Cleaning phone chargers to remove dirt and other impurities, as well as viruses, can be tricky. You can use a can of compressed air and spray the air in short bursts into the port. Otherwise, bring the charger to be cleaned by a professional.

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4. Touch screens

Computer touch screens can be cleaned by using a small amount of warm, soapy water or a solution made to specifically clean touch screens. When cleaning, use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the screen. Mixing water and rubbing alcohol works, too but any mixture of more than 50% alcohol might damage the screen and remove the coating that protects it from fingerprints.

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5. Keyboards

Keyboards have lots of germs and are potential virus havens. Researchers at the University of Arizona found that the average desktop has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. A New England Journal of Medicine study showed that the coronavirus was still detectable on plastic and steel for up to 72 hours, meaning viruses can live longer on non-porous surfaces such as keyboards. Keyboards should be unplugged and then shaken. Then they can be cleaned by gently wiping them down by using a 70% alcohol solution or disinfecting wipes. Stay away from bleach and don’t let moisture into the openings.