Coronavirus could live on your phone for nine days — here’s how to clean it

Your phone can carry germs for up to 9 days, including, scientists think, the deadly coronavirus. 

Before you pick up that smart device and refresh your social media feeds to reveal the latest coronavirus news: beware. The dreaded virus could be festering on your phone for long periods.

According to German researchers, coronavirus can live on an inanimate surface like metal, glass or plastic — as in, all of the materials used to make phones — for up to nine days.

Published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, the study analyzed data from 22 previous studies on human coronaviruses including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and endemic human coronavirus (HCoV).

“Although the viral load of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces is not known during an outbreak situation, it seem plausible to reduce the viral load on surfaces by disinfection, especially of frequently touched surfaces in the immediate patient surrounding where the highest viral load can be expected,” the authors wrote.

The study suggested using a solution that contains 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach), or 62% to 71% ethanol (a key ingredient in most hand sanitizers) within one minute to clean their devices. Apple recently told customers that they can safely use Clorox disinfecting wipes and 70% isopropyl alcohol on their products’ screens. But, people shouldn’t use aerosol sprays, bleaches or abrasives. Cleaners shouldn’t be sprayed directly onto the device, rather applied using a soft, lint-free cloth.

The more scientists learn about novel coronavirus, the more you’ll want to clean that phone.

Researchers from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently found that people affected by COVID-19 have live virus in their stool. That unsavory bit of information means that the virus can and is likely spread through fecal matter as well as droplets from sneezing and coughing.

And given that many folks have become accustomed to bringing their phones to the loo as they do their business, it means they can become breeding grounds for unthinkable germs.

In addition to the bathroom brouhaha, Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Arizona, tells Men’s Health that the phone is particularly vulnerable because our grubby fingers mindlessly touch dirty surfaces and then repeatedly pick up our phones.

“You do not have to sneeze on a cell phone to transmit disease-causing organisms,” Gerba says. “What we found out in studying virus movement on surfaces in office buildings is that you touch a surface with a virus on it and then you place it on your cell phone.” (A door handle, for example.)

“You then go home or to another location and you touch your phone again and, say, touch a table moving it to another location — great way to spread viruses around an office.”

Gerba recommends using an alcohol wipe or microfiber cloth. “I would do it every time I have been out in public.”

This article Coronavirus could live on your phone for nine days — here’s how to clean it 

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