I have good news, and I have bad news. The bad news? Your iPhone, or Galaxy S20, or Google Pixel 4 is a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria and a repository for plenty of other germs that you probably would rather not think about. In fact, every few months, articles remind us that the smartphone you press against your face is covered in more germs than an average toilet seat. (I told you it was bad news.)
But the good news? Apple has now changed its guidelines on cleaning your devices to include using Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. From Apple's updated How to Clean Your Apple Products Site:
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. Don't use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don't submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents. Don't use on fabric or leather surfaces.
When you think about all the places you set your phone, it's no surprise how dirty it gets. Most of the time we don't even think about it, but now is a good time to start. With the current Coronavirus outbreak, the CDC is telling people to wash their hands, and not to touch their face. Except, think about how often you touch your phone, and then put your phone up to your face.
So, Apple's new guidelines come at a pretty helpful time. Still, there are some things you should never use to clean your device. For example, bleach or spray kitchen cleaners are abrasive and can strip the oleophobic coating on the glass on your device. That coating is there to reduce the buildup of smudges from oils on your fingers and protect the screen. In fact, that coating is why Apple previously said you shouldn't use alcohol.
You should still avoid acetone (a compound used in makeup remover), as well as dish soap. It's also a good idea not to use abrasive paper towels. Instead, after using an alcohol wipe, you can dry the device with a soft microfiber cloth.
The same is true for the keyboard on your laptop. Apple says that disinfectant wipes are okay on the display and keyboard, just be careful not to allow liquids to get inside any porous areas.
Another option is to purchase a device specifically designed to disinfect your device using UV-C light. You simply place your iPhone inside, and the light deactivates the DNA inside the germs, preventing them from doing any harm. You can find models for less than $100, but the real question is whether you'll use them. It might just be more convenient
By the way, if you need to remove something from an area other than the front or back, say one of the speaker openings, stay away from liquids. In fact, CNET points out that the best way to clean this area is to use a piece of scotch tape. Just lay it over and press down so that the debris sticks to it, and remove.
Finally, most of the germs that end up on your device come from the same place: your hands. That means that the best way to keep your device clean, is also the best way to stay healthy in general--wash your hands.