I conducted a little observational research the other day while getting groceries.

One out of five people wore some form of mask (I decided a scarf counts), and nearly half wore gloves.

But here's the thing: While gloves seem like a great idea, wearing gloves is only as effective as the rest of your "slow the spread" techniques.

While the CDC says touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly eyes is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the organization does recommend "frequent hand hygiene and routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces."

So with that in mind: If you're wearing gloves, touch a bunch of surfaces, and then touch your face...that's basically like touching your face without gloves. You're still potentially transferring harmful material.

Of course, that doesn't mean wearing gloves is a waste of time. It does mean you still have to think about what you touch while you're wearing them. (Which is a definite side-benefit from wearing a mask; if nothing else, the mask helps remind you to not touch your face.)

But here's another thing: You probably touch your phone a lot more often than you touch your face. And one study found ("ick" alert) that phones can carry more than 17,000 bacterial gene copies and "may play a role in the spread of infectious agents." 

Yep: Ick.

The problem is, Apple long frowned on using conventional cleaning products, like disinfectant wipes, to clean your phone, saying that certain chemicals can over time wear away the screen coating.

But not anymore: Apple now says it's okay to use disinfectant wipes clean your phone, as long as you wipe gently instead of scrubbing, and as long as you keep liquid away from charging ports.

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.

"Gently" is the key. If you need to remove debris, don't use a disinfecting wipe or spray. 

Of course, the best way to keep your phone free of germs, infectious agents, etc., is to leave it in your pocket or purse while you're in an uncontrolled setting like a grocery store and only pull it out again after you've washed your hands.

That's true even if you wore gloves into the store--getting the gloves off without transferring any "material" to your fingers requires some degree of dexterity.

Again, the CDC says the main way Covid-19 spreads is from person to person, so social distancing appears to be the most effective way to help slow the spread.  But if you're worried about contaminated surfaces...keep in mind one of the objects you probably touch most often is your phone.

So feel free to clean yours regularly.

And, according to Apple, to use--gently, and making sure to keep liquid away from ports--disinfectant wipes.