If the pandemic taught us anything about healthy living, it’s the importance of keeping our hands clean.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says clean hands can prevent 1 in 3 gastrointestinal illnesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu. And just as wiping down door handles and countertops is critical — they’re some of the worse culprits for germs — the same goes for high-touch surfaces on your devices: computer mice, e-readers, laptop or stand-alone computer keyboards, smartphones, tablets and TV remotes.
U.S. adults checked their phones about 350 times a day on average in 2022 and about 150 times a day this year, according to three surveys. Dynata, a market research firm in Plano, Texas, polled almost 2,000 adults in March 2022 for tech repair and insurance company Asurion, based in Nashville, Tennessee. Reviews.org, a private-company website based in Salt Lake City, surveyed 1,000 adults twice, in early 2022 and 2023, and saw similar usage last year and a sharp drop-off this year. But even with the lower number, you or a family member are likely touching a phone nearly 10 times every waking hour. That’s a lot of surface contact.
That’s why cleaning your phone and other high-contact technology daily is important. The key is to not damage what’s probably the most expensive device you carry with you as you’re removing its grime and hidden germs.
1. Turn off your device and make sure it’s not plugged into the wall. This way, you avoid a potential short circuit, see the surface you’re cleaning better, and don’t accidentally call or text someone. If you use a case, remove it and give it a thorough cleaning too.
2. Gently wipe down the screen with a lint-free microfiber cloth, such as the lens cloth you use for your eyeglasses or sunglasses. Avoid using a tissue or paper towel, because both can leave a residue on the screen or scratch a screen’s protective coating.