With everyone freaking out over Coronavirus, and for good reason, we’re all washing out hands, wearing face masks and gloves when we leave the house, cleaning and wiping down every counter top, even disinfecting our food when we bring it home from the grocery store.
After doing all that, we strip off our gloves and mask, wash our hands – again, then we sit down with our phones, table, laptop or desktop computer and start touching, typing or swiping away. Let me ask you a question – when was the last time you cleaned your devices?
According to WebMD, Coronavirus can live on metal for 5 days, wood for 4 days, plastic 2-3 days, stainless steel for 2-3 days and cardboard for up to a day. The material is stays viable upon for the shortest time is copper, but that’s still up to 4 hours.
You may feel save but –
You may be thinking, “I only touch my stuff after I’ve washed my hands”, but is that the only thing your device touches?
Let’s follow a device and see what really could happen.
You go to the store searching for toilet paper and hand sanitizer. You get out of the car, grab your phone and stick it in your pocket, then put on your mask and gloves. You go into the store, use the provided sanitizing wipe to clean the handle of the shopping cart and you’re good. You pick up items and put them in the cart. You didn’t know that the person who walked down the aisle 5 minutes before you wasn’t as careful and deposited viral material on one or two of the items. But you’re still safe because you’re still wearing your gloves and mask. You check out and go to the car. You load the bags in the trunk and sit down in the driver’s seat.
NOW – as you get in, you take your phone out of your pocket and put it in the hands-free holder. Now it’s time to take off the gloves and mask. You carefully take off the mask making sure not to touch the front, and you remove your gloves just like your favorite TV doctor and deposit them in the trash bag you’ve put in the car for just that purpose. BUT WAIT – you’ve already contaminated your phone by touching it with your gloved hands.
Now you are home and it’s time to unpack – so you carefully don another pair of gloves, grab your contaminated phone – contaminating the gloves, contaminate everything your touch, then take o the gloves and wash your hands. You grab your contaminated phone and go sit down at the computer and contaminate the keyboard.
OK – a little intense, but still all quite possible. The point is, you really have to be as obsessive in cleaning your devices as you are everything else around you. Cross contamination can happen in an instant. The biggest problem is most device don’t like liquids spilled or sprayed on them.
Cleaning to be safe –
Many of today’s devices are water resistant, but that doesn’t mean you can put them under the faucet and run water over them as you soap them up. The most important thing is you want to get any contaminant off the surface of the device you will be touching.
You can often use non-bleach disinfecting wipes to clean most of the surfaces. Be careful on the screen of most tablets and phone – they have an oleo-phobic coating to resist fingerprints that could be damaged by the wipes. (Check with the manufacturer of the device for instructions.) Often you can take a soft cloth like a microfiber terrycloth, wet it and ring it out well, then wipe the surface of your device.
If you are going to clean larger surfaces like your keyboard or laptop, DO NOT spray any cleaner directly on to them. The liquid could seep under the keys and damage the electronics. The best thing to do is take a soft terrycloth and spray the cleaner onto the cloth – get it slightly damp, but not wet. Then, wipe the damp cloth over the surface you are cleaning, then turn to a dry part of the cloth or another cloth and wipe the surface. Change the cloth frequently. Remember – the “stuff” that was on the device in now on the cloth.
And remember – not that your devices are all nice and clean and sparkly, WASH YOUR HANDS!