Skip to Content
© Pramote Soongkitboon |

Coronavirus germs can survive on your smartwatch – here’s how to disinfect it

Coronavirus and COVID-19 have people around the world rethinking their hygiene habits. In 2018, a CDC study revealed only 31% of men and 65% of women wash their hands after using the restroom. Flash forward to today and you’ll be lucky to find any soap left in bathroom soap dispensers.

This social shift has also alerted us to another dangerous vector for germs: our smartphones. Since the outbreak, more people are taking the time to sanitize their devices, which are undoubtedly among the items we touch most each day. Tap or click here to see how to clean your phone.

Smartphones aren’t the only frequently-touched items that need to stay clean. Smartwatches are also exposed to coronavirus particles. Here’s how you can keep yours clean and germ-free.

A vector for disease?

Smartphones and smartwatches are handled throughout the day with ordinary use. This means you transfer germs every time you touch them.

The National Institutes of Health recently found the SARS-COV2 virus, which causes COVID-19, can cling to surfaces for a longer period of time than originally thought. The virus can be found in aerosol particles for up to three hours, can stick to cardboard for up to 24 hours and can cling to plastic and stainless steel for up to three days.

Knowing this, it’s logical to conclude that glass is an equally dangerous surface. According to a USA today interview with Dr. Blanca Lizaola-Mayo, an internal doctor for the Scottsdale, Arizona Mayo clinic, screens provide an easy way for viruses to “reinfect” your hands after you’ve washed them.

She added that “you need everything possible to be as clean as possible, including your watch and Fitbit.”

What can I do about it?

Just like with smartphones, you’ll need to use chemical santizers like Clorox wipes, alcohol-based sanitizers or soap to disinfect screens. These chemicals destroy the fatty envelope that surrounds the coronavirus and kills germs before they can cause any harm.

Even big companies like Apple have changed their tune on disinfecting screens during this time of crisis.

While Apple used to advise against using bleach-based cleaners and similar agents on its products’ screens, it’s now advising customers use them to stay safe. Tap or click here to see a list of chemicals you can use to disinfect your devices.

To clean your device, the first thing you should do is make sure your hands are clean. Clip long fingernails and wash your hands with soap and warm water for a minimum of 20 seconds. This prevent your hands from transferring additional germs and bacteria.

Next, you’ll want to gently clean your smartwatch screen with a sanitizing wipe or even a soft-bristled toothbrush with rubbing alcohol. Avoid any holes or openings on the product, since this can harm your device.

Just make sure to avoid touching the wristband with harsh chemicals, as this can cause discoloration. That said, it will still clean the band, so the choice is yours. Metal bands should be cleaned the same way as screens.

Once you’re finished, dry off your watch with a soft, sterile cloth and wash your hands up to your wrist, just above where the watch rests, you can put your tech back on.

As you can see, keeping your gadgets clean isn’t all that difficult. All it takes is knowing the right steps to sanitize your tech properly. And by doing so, you’re not just protecting yourself, your’re protecting others who may have greater risk if they’re exposed to the virus.

I guess that means your life isn’t the only one your smartwatch could save. Tap or click here to see how a smartwatch saved a man from heart failure.

Komando Community background

Join the Komando Community

Get even more know-how in the Komando Community! Here, you can enjoy The Kim Komando Show on your schedule, read Kim's eBooks for free, ask your tech questions in the Forum — and so much more.

Try it for 30 days