Media releases


Thursday, 30 April 2020

Surfaces are generally breeding ground for germs and bacteria if left unclean. Making sure your smart devices are clean is something one should be mindful of at the best of times, but with many South Africans currently being forced to work from home while a nationwide lockdown is in effect, many have never depended on their smart devices as much as before.

A recent study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found the COVID-19 virus can survive on plastic and glass surfaces ( the materials used in smart devices) for up to 72 hours. This means that any germ that comes into contact with your smart devices could easily transfer to your skin.

While washing your hands and sanitising them before using any of your smart devices is a good – and necessary – start, it’s a good idea in general to make sure they are cleaned especially if you’ve had to leave your home during lockdown.

Here are Cell C’s tips on keeping your device clean.

How to clean your devices

Apple and Samsung recently updated their sites to include some revised cleaning guidelines, suggesting owners use “a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe.” While certain liquids can also be used as a last resort – ethanol for example – they’re best avoided long-term because they can ruin the screen’s oleo phobic surface coat.

For cleaning smartphones, tablets, smart watches and any other device that uses a touchscreen interface, your best bet is probably isopropyl alcohol (its 70% alcohol content is optimal). Don’t spray it directly onto your phone and don’t use too much – just a thin film. Let the liquid sit on the surface or for a couple of minutes and then clean with a microfiber cloth – a lens cloth for spectacles is ideal.

It’s important before owners begin cleaning their devices that they make sure they’re completely powered down. It’s also vital to make sure that no liquids make their way into the devices’ ports or any cracks they may have on their screens – this won’t damage a device that is switched off, but you’d have to wait until they’re completely dry again before you switch the on and insert power cables into them.

Things to avoid  

Don’t use bleach, window cleaners, kitchen cleaners, vinegar, make-up remover or rubbing alcohol to clean your devices because they could easily strip the oleo phobic coating from your screen and damage the display. Also avoid using paper towels to wipe the surface of the device as they easily scratch the surface if there is any hair or lint sitting on it. If you need to remove lint from the ports use a toothpick, rather than anything metal, which may damage them. Both Samsung and Apple warn against using compressed air to clean any part of their devices.

A quick-step guide on cleaning your device:

  • Remove it from its case
  • Power it down
  • Gently wipe your device with isopropyl alcohol, avoiding ports and speakers, with a microfiber cloth (both the front and the back)
  • Leave to dry
  • Wipe clean with a microfiber cloth
  • Clean your phone case following the above steps.

Follow the above steps and you’re on track to keeping your device free of germs. And while it’s vital to do this during the Coronavirus lockdown, it’s worth making this a habit going beyond it.

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