How to Keep Your 2-Way Radio Sanitary and Virus-Free

Dos and don'ts of cleaning your radio

Two-way radio cleaning Image courtesy of Discount Two-Way Radio

Two-way radios can help cleaning crews work quicker and more efficiently and also aid in personal safety and social distancing. But remember, it is important to sanitize your radios regularly—especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some dos and don’ts for keeping your two-way radio equipment sanitary and virus-free.

The dos

  • Turn off the radio and unplug any accessories or attachments before you clean the radio.
  • Remove any protective covers or holsters protecting the exterior screen or casing.
  • Mix approximately 1 tablespoon of mild dishwashing soap with about 1 gallon of warm water to achieve a 0.5% solution. Apply the soapy mixture with a stiff but nonmetallic brush, making sure to dislodge any grime or dirt that may have become caked on the radio’s housing.
  • Clean antennas and screens with a soft, microfiber cloth dipped into the solution until the cloth is damp but not wet.
  • Keypads are usually the dirtiest areas on the radio because germs and “gunk” easily accumulate in the crevices between each number pad. Use a damp microfiber terry cloth to wipe away the dust and dirt, and then dry the keyboard with canned air. Be sure to prevent any moisture from becoming trapped in connectors, speaker crevices, and controls.
  • If your radio has an ingress protection (IP) rating of 67 or greater, you can rinse it by holding it under hot water or dip it into a bowl or bucket of water. If the IP rating is under 67, using a damp cloth is appropriate. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to dry the radio in either case.
  • For additional sanitation, use a disinfecting wipe or over-the-counter isopropyl alcohol. Pour the alcohol onto a cloth first, wipe down the radio with the cloth, then let the device air dry.
  • Several cleaners have proven to be effective in neutralizing pathogens or carcinogens on radio surfaces and attached accessories. First, thoroughly clean the radio following the methods described above. For pathogen decontamination, apply a neutral disinfectant cleaner labeled as a  virucidal that kills a broad spectrum of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. For carcinogen decontamination (to remove metal oxide dust, lead, mercury, cadmium, zinc, chromium, arsenic, silver, selenium, cobalt, and other toxic metals), wipe down the radio with either metal-removing wipes or soot-removing wipes commonly used by firefighters per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • You can also use ultraviolet light cleansers to disinfect. Called ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, this treatment is an established and effective way to disinfect two-way radios according to the United States National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

The don’ts

  • Don’t use isopropyl alcohol to clean your radio’s screen. Instead use a soft, damp cloth.
  • Don’t submerge the radio in detergent solution.
  • Don’t attach a dirty cover or holster to a sanitized radio. Take the time to clean your cover and holster with the same sanitizing techniques outlined in The Dos section.
  • Don’t allow any water or moisture to seep into charging areas, speakers, controls, programming buttons, or accessory jacks.
Posted On August 5, 2020

Ben Burns

Ben Burns is the founder and CEO of Discount Two-Way Radio. Based in Southern California, Discount Two-Way Radio serves more than 64,000 customers in the industries of warehousing, grain storage, janitorial, public safety, education, manufacturing, and construction. Discount Two-Way Radio is the exclusive North American distributor of RCA two-way radio equipment.

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