Experts suggest sanitizing your phone more frequently following new study of COVID-19 virus

Posted at 10:51 PM, Oct 13, 2020

The COVID-19 virus may live on surfaces like phones for 28 days according to a new study out of Australia.

While there are still questions regarding the accuracy of the study, experts say it's still a good reminder to sanitize your phone more frequently.

For many people, our cell phones are just an extension of our hands, but when it comes to sanitizing our phones habits have to shift.

Some people we spoke to say they stay on top of it.

"My new phone is something I take great pride in. I am constantly cleaning it after every chore that I do," cellphone user Vaughn Flewelling said.

A majority of people we spoke with say they don't clean their phones at all.

"I don't clean my phone as often as I should. I use sanitizer on my hands, but haven't really thought about cleaning my phone," Phillip Cantu said.

"I used to do once a year like wipe my phone but usually never," Izaiah Peralis said.

This can be a problem as a new study reveals the COVID-19 virus could live on a phone's surface for up to 28 days, however, there may be a little more to consider.

"When I looked a little closer, I saw that they studied it in the dark so the virus was never exposed to any UV light which is a very unnatural situation," Dr. Henning Ansorg, Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer, said.

Dr. Ansorg says the most common way the virus is spread is by aerialized droplets like when someone laughs or speaks, but surface transmission is not out of the realm of possibility.

"We've said from the very get-go if you work at a desk or anywhere you are frequently, frequently touched surfaces need to be cleaned and disinfected with a purely disinfectant alcoholic agent and you should do the same with cell phones," Dr. Ansorg said.

So if this has motivated you to start cleaning your phone there are some things to consider.

Ana Lopez, owner of SLO County Smartphone repair says she saw an influx of customers at the start of the pandemic due to people cleaning their phones improperly.

"People were using chemicals like Lysol and bleach. The thing about bleach and Lysol is that when you spray those into your phone, you're actually damaging your speaker, your proximity sensor and your front camera as well," Lopez said.

To sanitize the phones she gets in, Lopez uses a UV light she purchased online that can even charge your phone while it's in there, but she says the cheapest and easiest way is to sanitize is using rubbing alcohol and to a new rag each time.

"Put a good amount of alcohol and you also wanna make sure you are removing your case from your phone because a lot of bacteria will hide between the case and the phone and then you rub it away," Lopez said.

Dr. Ansorg says the best way to stop the transmission of the virus is of course to wear a mask and ensure you stay six feet apart from others.

It's best to sanitize your phone at least once a day as well as remembering to wash your hands and not touch your face.