In the days of COVID-19, device hygiene and cleanliness are becoming more and more of a concern. It is important to know when and how to clean your devices as well as how to prevent your devices from getting dirty in the first place. From practical cleaning with microfiber cloths to more expensive options like UV light cleaners, find out what actually works and what not to do while cleaning your device.
But if you’ve already learned all about disinfecting your personal devices, why not check out this How to Work from Home: A 2020 Guide to Remote Work.
The truth is our phones are dirty. We touch our phones nearly constantly and anything we touch with our hands might find its way onto our phones. Not to mention phones seem to be such a part of us, that they tend to slip under the radar when it comes to cleanliness. Let’s get into what device hygiene actually means.
What is Device Hygiene?
Device hygiene means keeping the surfaces and screens of your devices clean and bacteria-free. More and more people have a growing concern over personal device cleanliness, and in a time where germs are public enemy number one, it is no wonder people feel this way. Appliances like computers, phones, and tablets are disconcertingly susceptible to germs, being that we touch them constantly and probably more than we realize. That being said there are a few ways to keep electronics clean. Some of them are common sense, others seem more unusual, while some run the risk of causing damage to your phone.
But it’s important not to confuse “device hygiene” with “cyber hygiene.”
What is Cyber Hygiene?
Unlike device hygiene which refers to the cleanliness of your physical device, cyber hygiene is a routine in which users develop a way to regularly maintain the health of their computer or device.
The Different Methods of Cleaning
What do you need to clean your devices? Well, the truth is you don’t need much, but there are a variety of methods and ways to keep your devices clean ranging from simple to over the top.
Another thing to keep in mind is that what works for one device might not be the best method for another. Devices like keyboards, mice, monitors, or earphones might all have different requirements and standards for keeping them clean. To get exact guidelines it’s best to look up the company that produces your device. Larger companies such as Apple or Samsung have begun offering guidelines for how to clean their devices in a way that won’t see you damaging them. However, there are some common solutions that you can go ahead and try out!
- Microfiber cloth
- UV light cleaner
- Alcohol solution
- Hand washing
Perhaps the most common way to clean your devices is with a microfiber cloth. It is likely that every home has a microfiber cloth laying around somewhere, so they are usually an easy and quick solution. Microfiber is effective because of how well it absorbs oils and wipes bacteria off of your device. It is recommended that you dab some water or cleaning product onto your cloth before wiping down your device.
It is strongly recommended not to spray anything directly onto your device and instead apply it to your microfiber cloth before gently cleaning your screen.
Another popular solution to keeping your phone free of germs are cleaning methods that use UV light to kill bacteria. Many of these products are a sort of coffin-like box for your phone. You can place your phone into this UV box for around 10 minutes to get your phone spick and span.
The main downfall with these products seems to be their price tag. And while the science behind using UV light is sound, there isn’t really a way to notice a before and after difference with the naked eye.
Furthermore, many people prefer to use wipes or solutions specifically made for cleaning devices like phones. Many of these wipes are alcohol-free or have a low enough alcohol content so damage to your phone is not so much of a worry. Some users prefer to mix alcoholic solutions at home to save a bit of money, just make sure you don’t overdo it with the isopropyl.
When talking about device hygiene, perhaps one of the most important aspects to take into consideration would be the cleanliness of our shared devices. Things like keyboards and mice are sometimes personal, yet they are often shared between family members or colleagues. This is also true of things like digital whiteboards in boardrooms, classrooms, or meeting spaces. So keeping these sorts of devices clean becomes especially important when thinking of just how many people come into contact with them on a daily basis.
Keeping your keyboard clean and germ-free involves some of the same methods previously discussed. The one thing you do not want to do is spray any chemicals directly onto your keyboard, this could cause damage. First, dampen your microfiber cloth with water, if you are having difficulty removing particles from between the keys, try using compressed air. If you do require something a bit stronger you may try specialty cleaning wipes, for example, Lysol or Clorox wipes that are designed for electronics. It is recommended that you clean your keyboard about once or twice a month.
Similar to a keyboard, it would first be wise to dampen a microfiber cloth down and scrub your device gently. However, unlike your keyboard, it is recommended that you use some toothpicks or Q-tips to help you reach those hard to reach spaces. For a step by step guide on how to clean your computer mouse check out this tutorial on Wikihow.
Large touchscreen displays are especially important to keep clean because they are so widely used among coworkers and piers. Take schools for example, where multiple students all touch the same display. A boardroom where day to day meetings come one after another is another good example of why touchscreen displays are important to keep clean. Here are a few steps you can take to keep those large screen displays clean and germ-free!
- Wipe the screen with a dry, soft, lint-free cloth to removing dust and other particles.
- If moisture is needed, spray water onto a clean, lint-free or microfiber cloth.
- If still not clean, apply a small amount of non-alcohol-based glass cleaner onto a clean, microfiber cloth and wipe down the screen with very slight pressure. Too much pressure could damage your screen.
How Not to Clean Your Devices!
Now that you are aware of how to clean your device, it’s important to know exactly how not to clean your device. Rule number one, never submerge your device in liquid or water and avoid using household chemical cleaners. These chemical cleaners sometimes include alcohol-based solutions that could damage the screens on your devices.
While cleaning your devices is effective, it is important to remember that one of the most effective ways to keep them clean is actually to wash your hands! At the end of the day it is your hands that will carry germs and bacteria back and forth from you to your phone and vice-versa. So whatever you do make sure you keep your hands as clean as possible!
Whether you use your devices every thirty seconds or just a few times a day it’s important to know how to keep them clean and free of bacteria and germs. From the new UV cleaners to the reliable microfiber cloth it’s important to know how to clean devices, especially the shared device that you and your colleagues use every day.
If you’re just getting into a work-from-home work style, then be sure to check out How to Work from Home: A 2020 Guide to Remote Work. On the other hand, if you are focused on the health aspects of monitors continue reading learning about office ergonomics.