Consumer Electronics Are Dirtier Than You Know

April 14, 2022
Consumer Electronics Are Dirtier Than You Know

Our cell phones allow us to share our favorite memes, streams, GIFs, and TikToks with our friends all over the world.

They are our primary means of communication and are seldom, if ever, more than arm’s length away. Some of the most recent research shows that Americans check their phones an average of 96 times per day.

But every time that we pick up our cell phone and start re-tweeting and hash-tagging and TikTok-ing the hours away, we might be sharing more than just a viral post or two.

Your cell phone will likely be the single dirtiest object that you come into contact with on a daily basis. And that long list of objects includes doorknobs, pet food dishes, and yes, even toilet seats.

Cell phones and other consumer electronics such as computer keyboards, earbuds, smartwatches, tablets, and e-readers are essentially Bluetooth-enabled Petri dishes.

Read this quick blog post to find out just how dirty consumer electronics really are and how Ultra-Fresh’s antimicrobial technology can help you keep your phone cleaner longer.

How Dirty is Your Cell Phone?

Cell phones are by far and away the dirtiest object that most people will interact with on a daily basis. A 2017 study found just over 17,000 bacterial gene copies living on the surface of high school students’ mobile phones.

A 2015 study of 386 mobile phones belonging to health care workers found similarly shocking results. According to that study, of the 386 cell phones analyzed, 316 showed growth of unwanted bacterial organisms.

But it isn’t just the quantity of bacteria on cell phones that should make you think twice about how many times you reach for your device.

In both the 2015 and 2017 studies, researchers found some common bacteria growing on your phone, the most prominent being Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Bacillus cereus.

Seattle Times journalist, Bobby Caina Calvan, probably illustrated the dirtiness of our cell phones best when he compared them to other frequently touched surfaces.

Table of Bacteria Found on Electronic Goods

How Do You Clean Your Phone?

Our phones are definitely breeding grounds for more than just meme-worthy GIFs and shareable videos. But they don’t have to be. There are some simple steps that avid TikTok-ers, Tweeters, and Instagram influencers can follow to keep their phones cleaner longer.

Wash Your Hands: The first step to cleaning your device is cleaning your hands. Most of the bacteria that find their way onto your phone got there from your hands.

Washing your hands regularly can reduce the number of microbes that you transfer to your device. But if the 2015 study of health care workers’ cell phones taught us anything, it’s that even the keenest handwashers can’t keep their phones clean forever—if ever.

Don’t Share Your Phone: For the most part, the microbes that end up on your cell phone won’t harm you. That’s according to University of Arizona microbiologist, Charles Gerba. But sharing our devices with others, or even resting our devices down in public or unfamiliar places, can bring us into contact with a wide variety of microbes.

Use Disinfecting Wipes: Isopropyl alcohol wipes and sprays can significantly reduce the number of bacteria and pathogens on your cell phone and other electronic devices. But some cleaning agents can damage screens or leak into your device.

Similarly, compressed air sprays can remove debris and particles from the tough-to-clean crevices on your cell phone, but they won’t keep your phones cleaner.

While we definitely encourage you to follow these steps to keep your phone cleaner, you’ll still need some help if you don’t want to go viral—in a bad way.

How Antimicrobial Technology Helps Keep Your Tech Cleaner

Ultra-Fresh has been working with manufacturers of tech devices for decades to reduce the number of pesky odor-causing microbes that normally multiply out of control.

By infusing an antimicrobial technology into a cellphone case protector or a coating, bacterial growth is inhibited before it gets out of hand. This helps to maintain a cleaner device in between the times when we do decide to clean our phones.

Ultra Fresh Cell Phone Screen Protector Visual 01

Microban and Ultra-Fresh have partnered with industry leaders to implement antimicrobial technology… for your technology. Shop durable and stylish antimicrobial phone cases from Speck, functional computer accessories from Fellowes, and truly protective screen protectors from Cellularline Group.

Learn more about our antimicrobial-treated plastics and polymers or visit our blog to find out which one of your other personal possessions is hiding a microbe manufactory.