In these uncertain times, one of the key pieces of advice is to regularly wash our hands. That's all very well, but with us also needing our phones more than ever to communicate with isolated friends and family, we also should be cleaning our phones and other devices on a regular basis, too.
The first thing to say is that a lot of phones have a fingerprint-resistant coating (called an oleophobic or oil-repellent coating). You don't want to be using household cleaning products - like window cleaner - as it will degrade this coating. Abrasive cleaners could scratch your phone, too.
It's important to clean off stains and other marks, especially if the mark is caused by something that would stain other items. This includes but obviously isn't limited to makeup, body lotions or creams, ink, hair dye or anything like that.
So, to clean your phone
1. Unplug all cables including headphones
2. Use a soft, damp cloth. If you have a cloth that came with a pair of glasses or sunglasses, that's the type of thing to use. Use circular movements to clean off stains or other marks.
3. If you need to clean the phone further, use a bit of soapy water. If your phone is waterproof, this isn't a problem. If it isn't, be sparing and avoid any openings like a USB-C or Lightning port.
4. To go one more step further use an antibacterial screen wipe. These are available from places like Office Depot, Currys PC World or Staples as well as grocery stores/supermarkets and Amazon. You want to make sure they are alcohol and ammonia-free.
5. If you have lint or other fluff in the port of your phone, try and blow it out. Only use compressed air if you really need to as many manufacturers recommend against this - however it can often be the only way.
Who is touching your phone?
It goes without saying that you'll be touching your phone. But what about others? Given the heightened need for hygene at the moment, we'd recommend you don't let your kids or partner touch your phone - or at least keep contact to a minimum - and as much as you can try not to use shared devices like family iPads without washing your hands after.
And where are you putting it?
Obviously, you carry your phone around in a bag or pocket and you can do something about that by making sure where you're putting it is clean.
But you should also consider where you are putting it when you're out and about - the checkout counter in a store isn't going to be completely clean when you put it down while you pay, a pub or coffee shop table isn't great while you meet a friend and neither is the seat on the bus. Generally, just be aware of what you're doing with it.
What about an antibacterial case?
Some cases have antibacterial coatings on them - NueVue is one of the companies who produce cases along these lines for iPhone, iPad and Samsung handsets - NueVue's cases actually have an "antimicrobial microfiber lining" designed to kill harmful bacteria on your phone. Tech21 also produce them for numerous iPhone and Samsung Galaxy handsets.
Companies like Invisibleshield also produce screen protectors - the VisionGuard+ for iPhone claims to reduce 99.99 percent of harmful bacteria.