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Tech Support: The best ways to clean your gadgets amid COVID-19

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Yahoo Finance’s Tech Editor Dan Howley weighs in on the best ways to clean tech gadgets during the coronavirus crisis.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: You've got to see Dan Howley just take his shot because Dan, you're going to tell us how to disinfect gadgets.

DAN HOWLEY: Yes, I will do that. Let me-- I'm just going to remove my mask here real quick so you can see my lovely face. There we go. I will leave the shower cap on, though. This is all, by the way, very professional. I'm a doctor. I got my degree in a back alley in Queens, so it's totally all on the up and up.

But with more states opening up and more cities opening up, a lot of people still want to figure out ways to keep themselves safe from the spread of COVID-19 and coronavirus. And one of the things that a lot of people talk about is their smartphones, the device that they use all the time-- their smartwatches, their headphones-- and how they can clean those.

Well, the best way to do so is to use something like a Clorox wipe, according to the likes of Apple and Samsung. What you do is you take a little bit of Clorox wipe or even this, isopropyl alcohol 70%. And you can get a little rag, something like a paper towel, and just damp it-- dampen it and then wipe it down gently.

Now, as Samsung points out, you don't want to douse it in alcohol. Do not drop your phone into a vat or a bowl of alcohol. That would just destroy it entirely. And when you wipe it down, and sure you don't get any of the alcohol into the port, something like the lightning port, the headphone jack, if you have a Samsung phone because Apple doesn't use those, or the speaker grill.

Now, what about your smartwatch-- your Apple Watch, your Galaxy Watch? Well, it's the same idea. Use isopropyl alcohol 70% on a dampened cloth and wipe it down. You can also use those Clorox wipes. But again, you don't want to get into any openings on your device.

And also you want to take your bands off first. That alcohol could destroy them if they're fabric or rubber. You may want to use something like a damp cloth to clean those, perhaps something with soap and water. The regular sport band that I have here on this Apple Watch. That you can use alcohol on or Clorox on no problem.

And then what about your headphones-- your Galaxy Buds, your AirPods? Well, again, for Apple, you can use that isopropyl alcohol and wipe down the outside of it, but don't get it near the speaker mesh. Because that could go inside and just destroy your AirPods entirely and we all know how long the wait is to get those. For

Samsung, though, they don't say to use isopropyl alcohol or anything like that. They simply say wipe it down with a damp rag and keep it, you know, clean that way. But if you want to, you might be able to use that alcohol or even a soap-- a little bit of soap and water, perhaps, but make sure you recognize that if you do that, it goes against what Samsung says, and you might void your warranty. So that's really up to you on whether or not you want to take that risk of voiding that.

So the last question is what about gloves? Why not just use gloves like these instead of having a clean your phone all the time. Well, that's kind of dumb because of something called cross-contamination. According to the Cleveland Clinic, what happens is if you go into, say, a grocery store, you touch the front door with your glove, you touch the shopping cart with your glove then you get a phone call. You take out your phone.

All that bacteria that was on those surfaces is now on your phone. Now, you get home, you take off your glove, you pick up your phone, and guess what? All of that bacteria went from your phone to your hand. So your best bet, wash your hands as much as possible, just as everyone's been saying all along, and that's how you can keep yourself and your devices clean.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Dan, quick question because everything you've described has to do with being able to get the 70% isopropyl alcohol. So what about those ultraviolet disinfectors you can get? I have friends who are using them, they believe, to disinfect their devices. Any updates on those?

DAN HOWLEY: So there are some out there. There's the PhoneSoap UV light device that you put it in this box, and it sends UV light at it. They are using UV light in subways to treat them so that they're able to be ridden, and perhaps that kills COVID-19 or coronavirus. But there really isn't anything said yet about whether or not it works on an actual smartphone. So they do say that those work on viruses.

You can give it a shot if you have it, you don't want to use isopropyl alcohol, you can't find it. But I would say the best bet is to use something like this or a Clorox wipe just to clean it to be totally sure.

ADAM SHAPIRO: All right, Dan Howley, thank you so much for that. And you know, when you were wearing those blue gloves, I kept thinking of the days when you were with the Blue Man Group. So I'm glad you're with Yahoo Finance now.

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