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COVID-19: How to keep your gadgets virus-free!

By Ameen Khwaja
April 23, 2020 12:46 IST
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Ameen Khwaja shares simple ways to keep your beloved gadgets germ-free!

*IMAGE: Is your phone germ-free? Photograph: Kind courtesy Anna Shvets/Pexels.com
 

With COVID-19's rapid spread, the media is full of guidelines on how to practise social distancing and maintain healthy hygiene to contain the spread of the virus.

From a handwash guide to eating healthy for better immunity, there are a whole lot of instructions everywhere as to how to control/stop the virus.

But in our day-to-day life, we really can't avoid getting a few objects close to our face/body which could help transfer germs onto our body.

Think of how often you bring your phone to your ear or use it for watching your favourite programmes.

And now, think how important it is for you to keep these objects sanitised and germ-free.

A study has revealed that the coronavirus can remain viable in the air for up to three hours, on copper for up to four hours, on cardboard for up to 24 hours and for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel.

This analysis was originally published in the preprint database, medRxiv, on March 11; a revised version was published in The New England Journal of Medicine on March 17.

Our smartphones and earphones are with us wherever we go.

Even though we keep touching them and placing them against our face multiple times a day, we are rarely mindful of where we set down these devices.

As a result, our gadgets are one of the dirtiest and most germ-infested things we lay our hands on, multiple times, each day.

Which is why, in these dangerous times, they would most likely be the most dangerous things we can touch.

Unlike other surfaces where disinfecting with an alcohol-based solution can be helpful, such harsh chemicals might damage the phone display or the touch-sensitive panel in advanced wireless earphones or true wireless earbuds.

These tips will help you keep your gadgets safe.

*IMAGE: Use disinfectant wipes to keep your device germ-free. Photograph: Kind courtesy Myriam Zilles/Pixabay.com

Disinfectant wipes

As harsh alcohol-based solutions can damage your phone's display and other sensitive parts, it is advisable to use disinfectant wipes to make your device safe for use and germ-free.

These wipes are a good option for most of our devices, including laptops, gaming controllers, remotes, etc.

*IMAGE: You can clean your device with a disinfectant liquid and a microfibre cloth. Photograph: Kind courtesy Gustavo Fring/Pexels.com

Microfibre or soft cotton fabric

It is advisable not to use an abrasive cloth, towels, paper towels and similar products to clean your gadgets as they may lead to scratches on the metal, plastic or glass surface.

You may use cotton swabs to clean around crevices like the edges of the screen and buttons on the phone.

Make sure to remove any case you might have on your phone or tablet and clean that with disinfectant wipes or disinfectant liquid and a microfibre cloth.

Let it dry thoroughly dry before you put it back on.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, smartphone brands like Apple issued guidelines to its users to clean Apple products using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox disinfecting wipes.

The hard, nonporous surfaces of Apple products, such as the display, keyboard and other exterior surfaces should be cleaned by wiping it gently.

Apple also instructs the users not to use bleach and to avoid getting moisture in any of the openings. It advises against submerging the product in any cleaning agent.

On similar lines, Samsung advises against using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals to clean their phones as that may scratch the screen or damage the oleophobic coating that prevents fingerprints from smudging the display.

Using liquid chemicals on devices that don't have an IP rating will also lead to water ingress that could potentially ruin the device.

Samsung has announced the Samsung Galaxy Sanitising service in 19 countries across the globe including India, through which it will sanitise phones with UV-C light.

Samsung says that it has tested the sanitisation devices carefully to make sure that the UV-C light doesn't affect the phone's performance.

It also cautions that results may vary and not all bacteria, germs and viruses might be eliminated through UV-C sanitisation.

*IMAGE: Don't share/borrow earphones/earbuds from others. Photograph: Kind courtesy Gustavo Fring/Pexels.com

Earphones/earbuds

The first step towards maintaining better hygiene is to refuse to share/borrow it from others.

Earphones or earbuds can carry more germs than any other gadget.

However, they are easy to clean; rubbing it with a basic alcohol wipe should do the trick.

Carefully clean the holes and gaps in them as well. You may use a toothpick to pull out dirt from such gaps/holes.

Ensure the earbuds dry completely before you store them or wear them.

This shouldn't take more than 60 seconds as an alcohol-based solution dries up quickly.

Pandemic or not, all your devices need serious deep clean periodically.

This is a good time to pick up tech hygiene habits that'll last you a lifetime.


Ameen Khwaja is the founder and CEO of pTron.

 

*Image used for representational purposes only.

 

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