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As a new study suggests that Coronavirus can survive on our phones for a whole month, here's how to properly clean yours

Pretty important stuff, considering how much we touch our phones.

The virus that leads to COVID-19 can survive on surfaces such as bank notes and mobile phones for as long as 28 days, according to new research.

Australia's national science agency CSIRO found that Sars-CoV-2 was 'extremely robust' at 20C, or room temperature. Their findings showed that the virus survived longer on smooth surfaces as opposed to porous ones, such as cotton.

"Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious on surfaces for long periods of time, reinforcing the need for good practices such as regular hand-washing and cleaning surfaces," said Dr Debbie Eagles, deputy director of the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness.

"At 20 degrees Celsius, which is about room temperature, we found that the virus was extremely robust, surviving for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass found on mobile phone screens and plastic banknotes.

"For context, similar experiments for Influenza A have found that it survived on surfaces for 17 days, which highlights just how resilient SARS-CoV-2 is."

Though we probably like to think we're now proficient at regularly washing our hands, sanitising surfaces and anti-baccing at every given opportunity, it's all too easy to forget to clean our phones – and to do it properly. When you consider that we check our phones between 2,600 and 5,400 times a day (!!!), it's more important than ever to disinfect our devices properly.

We spoke to Lewis Ames of leading UK hand sanitiser and disinfectant manufacturer Ocean Free for his top cleaning tips...

Use a disinfectant wipe

Firstly, wash your hands before even beginning to clean your phone to avoid additional contact with any existing bacteria. To clean your phone handset, I would always opt for disinfenctact wipes – these are the most effective and safest way to protect your phone from bacteria, germs and viruses. Make sure you use a disinfectant wipe that says it kills at least 99.9% of germs and bacteria (such as Ocean Free's Universal Disinfection Wipes) for the best result. Use the wipe gently all over the phone and allow it to completely dry for a minimum of 5 minutes before contact.

If you're using a spray, don't get too close

If you don’t have any wipes, only use a spray indirectly by spraying onto a microfibre cloth first. A common mistake when cleaning screens is to spray too closely to the object, leaving unwanted streak marks resulting in over-wiping, which can reinfect the surface. Plus, spraying straight onto your phone where liquid can’t escape could potentially damage the handset.

Crack open the toothpicks

For the smaller areas of the phone where bacteria can gather, very gently use a toothpick or needle to remove any dirt. You don’t want to stick anything too far into the device and potentially risk damaging your phone internally, so this process has to be done very carefully.

Don't forget the case

It's important that you clean both the phone and its case, or you risk transferring germs back and forth. The easiest method is to clean the case whilst the handset is air-drying.

For leather phone cases, use a leather-friendly saddle soap and test on a small area before full-use. Silicone cases can be gently washed in hot soapy water. For plastic cases, use a micro-fibre cloth and disinfectant spray.

Be mindful when using your phone post-cleaning

Once your phone is clean, be careful with how you use it. Avoid placing your phone on surfaces outside your home particularly in high-contact areas, such as on the train or in the supermarket. If you use contactless payments with your phone, avoid touching your phone to the payment device – if you’re near enough it will still process payment.

How often should I be cleaning my phone?

The cleaning frequency will differ from person to person depending on usage levels. If you are a site worker or have an increased level of usage, I would advise cleaning the handset 3-4 times a week. Alternatively, if you work from home and have limited outside contact, 1-2 times a week would be ample. Always remember to sanitise your hands to avoid increased bacteria and germs transference.

This originally appeared on GLAMOUR UK | Author: Ali Pantony

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