Most of us understand the power of hand washing to prevent the spread of germs. Because people frequently touch their eyes, nose and mouth without realizing it, keeping your hands clean can keep you healthy. But not everyone thinks about how touching cell phones and other electronic devices contaminates our hands before we reach up to scratch our noses.
Typical mobile phone users touch their phone 2,617 times every day. And that’s just the average! 10% of phone users touch their phones twice as much.[i] In its Guidance for Schools and Child Care Programs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that surfaces that are frequently touched should be cleaned and disinfected, especially classroom laptops and tablets. We think everyone would agree that thousands of times per day is frequent.
Through routine sanitization practices, the potential threat posed by contaminated devices can be significantly reduced. Read on to learn about the differences between cleaning and sanitizing along with effective sanitization methods. Hopefully, with these helpful tips, the sanitization of devices in schools will become as widespread as soaping up your hands while singing Happy Birthday.
What’s the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing?
The CDC provides the following guidance on the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting:
- Cleaning removes germs from surfaces or objects by using soap or detergent and water to physically remove germs.
- Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects by using chemicals.
- Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements.[ii]
Why is sanitizing and disinfecting cellphones and smart devices important?
Did you know a cell phone has 18x more bacteria than a public restroom? Streptococcus, MRSA and E. coli have all been found lurking on devices. Nonporous surfaces like smartphone screens can also make it a perfect environment for the coronavirus. Studies show that coronaviruses may persist on surfaces for a few hours up to several days.[iii] School bathrooms are cleaned frequently, so should school devices. With proper sanitization methods, you’re lowering germs on a surface, which can reduce the risk of spreading germs.
What are the best methods for sanitization?
As our friends at Firefly Computers say, “You can’t just drench a computer in Lysol®.” Care has to be taken to avoid getting moisture on charging ports or other openings and damaging screen, keys, and internal components. There’s also more to keeping your school devices clean than just wiping them down with a microfiber cloth. Here are three of the best methods for sanitization.
1. Isopropyl Alcohol Wipes
Apple® recommends the following sanitization method. “Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces.” Google confirms that it’s okay to use isopropyl alcohol wipes on their devices as well.[iv] Regardless of the type of device, always power it down first.
2. Rapid UV-C Technology with UVone
If you’re looking for a sanitization method with 99.999% bacteria reduction,* UVone helps mitigate the spread of viral bacteria anywhere devices are being used or shared through rapid UV-C
To be effective, traditional wipes can take upwards of three minutes to disinfect. Teachers and IT staff already short on time, can’t spare several minutes sanitizing each device. UVone UV-C disinfection for mobile devices works in just 30 seconds. Also, UV-C light disinfects in a consistent manner, making it more reliable and efficient than wipes—plus, it does not degrade the integrity of devices over time.
With touchless sensors, students and staff never physically touch the station, reducing cross-contamination. UVone rapid UV-C technology seamlessly integrates into any school environment, such as inside classrooms, in communal public areas, or any other location that is most convenient and visible.
*LocknCharge's kill rate claims are based on data conducted by an accredited, GLP compliant, BSL-2 laboratory. Kill rate claims for MRSA at a 5-log kill or 99.999% are based on final GLP testing. Kill rate claims for C. Diff are at a 4-log kill or 99.997% in 60 seconds and a 3-log kill or 99.9% in 30 seconds. C. Diff results are based on final GLP testing. Real world results may vary. Testing data available upon request.
3. 5 Steps to Clean Sanitize Classroom Laptops
Firefly Computers’ repair experts recommend first powering off the device and removing accessories or plug-ins. Then clean the screen with an LCD-safe solution applied to a microfiber cloth. Use 70% isopropyl alcohol applied to a soft cotton rag to wipe down the keyboard and external chassis. Lastly, wait for the alcohol solution to evaporate before turning the laptop back on. Check out this helpful article for step-by-step instructions.
Take care of yourself and put together a back to school safety plan. Keep washing those hands and sanitizing those devices, and let us know if we can help keep the germs at bay in your school or classroom.
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*Kill rate claims are based on preliminary data only conducted by third-party lab. Preliminary test data is available upon request.