Disinfect your tech: ways to stay sanitary beyond just washing your hands

Mar 10 2020, 4:28 pm

The worldwide spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has illuminated a need to regularly wash hands and sanitize surfaces in schools, workplaces, transportation, and in other parts of the community, but some may be forgetting about their phones and laptops.

While most people are aware of the need to regularly wash their hands with soap and water,  many of us can’t go more than 30 minutes without touching our phones, making it that much more important to keep them clean.

Mobile phones, like computer keyboards, harbor bacteria, but because they are usually handled frequently or in close contact with more parts of the body and the outside world, they harbor more bacteria than toilet seats.

Given that smartphones and technology can carry a ton of bacteria regularly, Apple updated it’s cleaning recommendations for iPhones, iPads, laptops, and even cases yesterday, as the need to consistently sanitize is even more important during a virus outbreak.

“Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces.”

According to the US Centre for Disease Control, “current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials.”

However, it is not yet known if there have been documented cases of transmission through surfaces contaminated with the virus.

Regardless, it’s important to keep yourself, your hands, and your technology sanitary at all times to prevent the spread of illness and other infections.

As of March 10, 2020, the US has 647 cases of novel coronavirus, and according to the US government, coronavirus is most commonly spread from an infected person through person-to-person contact:

  • respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze
  • between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet)

Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact.

The US Government says frequent hand washing is central to mitigating the spread of infection, regardless of if you have touched surfaces or other people.

Some of the objects you may be forgetting about include high-touch surfaces in homes or workplaces, including doorknobs, faucet handles, computer keyboards, TV remotes, light switches, household phones, and personal cell phones.

If commercial disinfection products are not available, hard surfaces can be disinfected using one-part bleach and nine-parts water.

People are also being reminded of preventative steps they can take themselves, which include the following:

• Regular hand washing for at least 20 seconds using soap and water
• Using alcohol-based hand rubs to clean hands if they are not visibly soiled
• Avoiding touching your face/eyes/mouth with unwashed hands
• Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow