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Protect employees during COVID-19: Best practices for cleaning and sanitizing mobile devices

You may not have thought about the germs on your phone before. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has made us all much more aware of what we touch and the potential hygiene risks. Mobile devices in particular can harbour viruses and bacteria for many hours, and most of us touch our phones countless times throughout the day and hold them close to our faces. 

As we start to go back into the office and work in teams, the risk of spreading the virus is multiplied and taking precautions is more necessary than ever.

To protect yourselves, coworkers, and employees, it is important to regularly sanitize mobile devices as a preventative measure, as well as washing hands frequently. Here are some quick tips to help minimize infection in the workplace:

A useful first step is to avoid touching your phone when out and about, such as during shopping or on public transport. This is where you are most likely to pick up microbes and have the least opportunities to wash your hands. Only touch your phone after being in public places once you have washed or sanitized your hands.

Whenever you have the chance to sanitize your mobile device, here are the best steps to take:

  • Unplug the phone, turn it off and remove the case (this can be cleaned separately);
  • Use disinfectant wipes, sprays (containing 70% alcohol) or soap and water. Bear in mind that wipes or sprays containing bleach or a high concentration of alcohol maywear down the protective coat on your phone screen. If using soap and water, use a soft microfibre cloth to avoid damaging the device;
  • Carefully wipe the device, keeping liquids and moisture away from any openings;
  • Let it sit and take effect before drying with a clean, soft cloth


As with washing hands, it’s best to make it a regular habit. Sanitizing your phone several times a day is recommended, although frequency will depend on your phone usage.

For example, you could make it a part of your routine by setting a reminder on your phone or doing it after every time you go out. 

This can also apply to your personal space in general. If you get the chance, remember to sanitize your desk, computer, keyboard, and any surfaces that you regularly come into contact with. 

The touch screens on our mobile devices are an often overlooked source of microbes. They have become an essential part of our daily lives, and we use them so often that they are among the worst offenders for harbouring germs and can be a real risk when it comes to spreading viruses. Cleaning and sanitizing our phones on a regular basis and making it a part of our routine, as well as washing hands, is an important step towards minimizing infection and protecting everyone in the workplace.