What is the one surface that has 10 times more bacteria than your toilet seat? The answer might surprise you. According to a study at the University of Arizona, your cell phone has more bacteria than your toilet seat. Cellphones and other high touch objects don’t get cleaned as often as toilets and are covered in bacteria. In a Coronavirus world, the likelihood of transmitting the virus through a high touch object is a potential threat. The Coronavirus and other bacteria can live on surfaces like glass, metal, or plastic for up to nine days, states the Journal of Hospital Infection. Here are some tips on keeping your high touch surfaces clean from USA Today’s “Cleaning your devices? Here are some Coronavirus cleaning tips for your phone, tablet and more”:
- Cellphones – Before you clean your device, make sure it’s unplugged and turned off. Take off the case and wipe down the screen with a soft, damp, lint-free microfiber cloth. Wipe down the case as well. For an iPhone, you can use a disinfectant wipe; Samsung suggests a microfiber cloth with an alcohol-based solution (70%). Be careful to avoid getting any moisture into the openings of your phone, like the charging port, speakers, etc.
- Tablets – Clean with an alcohol-based agent making sure to pay attention to high touch areas such as the screen and buttons. Clean the case as well.
- Touch Screens – Use soap and warm water on a microfiber cloth to avoid scratches. You can also mix water and rubbing alcohol but it must be less than 50% alcohol or you might damage the screen.
- Keyboards – Unplug your keyboard then shake it upside down. To clean it gently wipe it down with a 70% alcohol solution or disinfecting wipes. Bleach should be avoided.
- Remote Controls and Computer Mouses – Make sure to unplug/take the batteries out of the device before you wipe it down. Clorox cleaner and bleach products, Lysol disinfectants, Purell sanitizers, and Zep disinfectants are all helpful when cleaning a remote control.
- Laptops – Clean out all the corners with a canned air duster. Then wipe down the outside with a microfiber cloth and a few drops of rubbing alcohol Do not apply alcohol directly to the computer. Wipe down the screen with a microfiber cloth dampened with water.
- ATM Machines – Wear a disposable glove or use hand sanitizer for any contact with ATM terminals or cash. Also, following the CDC’s guidelines for washing hands, avoiding touching your face, and maintaining 6 feet of distance from others are important.
Whether you are trying to prevent contracting the Coronavirus or just practicing good hygiene, disinfecting these high touch surfaces is a great start. You also might consider the CDC’s recommendation to wash your hands regularly and before you pick up your device. Sharing your device with others also is a contamination threat; don’t share your phone. And by all means, don’t bring your phone with you into the restroom.