When was the last time you cleaned your smart phone? What about your tablet or computer mouse? If you are anything like me, you don’t know if you have EVER cleaned them! Well, apparently these frequently used devices are kind of gross. Research from Stanford University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has shown that they can harbor all kinds of germs and diseases. I guess it makes sense, considering you touch them throughout the day (especially if you are active on social media). Here are the (slightly disturbing) facts and what to do about them.
Touch screens are great, but they also contain germs, put there by the very fingers that are using the tablet. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology showed that 23 percent of viruses will transfer between your tablet and your hands.
Other than not sharing your tablet with anyone else and washing your hands every time before you use it, there are a couple things you can do to keep it clean. You can disinfect the screen with a specialized screen cleaner or wipe it with a slightly damp soft cloth. It’s important not to use glass cleaner as it can destroy the protective coating. You should clean it once a week.
In an office, a mouse is one of three surfaces that is most likely to harbor viruses and the least likely of those three to be cleaned regularly. The other two are the desktop and the phone.
To keep your mouse clean from germs and viruses, clean it monthly. Unplug it or remove the batteries first. Clean it with a disinfectant wipe and avoid the trackball. For the trackball, use compressed air to clean out any dust that has accumulated on the underside. If you have an Apple Magic Mouse or Trackpad, follow the cleaning instructions for the tablet.
I hate to break it to you, but 1 in 6 people reading this blog has fecal matter on their phone. The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine released this information in a study in 2011. This has more to do with where the phone is used and less to do with how the phone is being used. Many people use their phones in the bathroom, and when the toilet is flushed, many small particles are thrown into the air. Those particles land on everything, including your phone you were just checking Facebook with that is then pressed to your face when you answered the next phone call.
What is a social media-obsessed person to do? First, don’t bring your phone into the bathroom (consider it your technology fast). Second, consider getting a UV Sanitizer, which will clean your phone in about 30 seconds. Third, use a fast drying cleaner made for mobile devices. Ideally, you should clean it every other day.
The good news with all of this is that if these items are dirty, that means you are using them! And hopefully, you are using them to create really excellent content for social media.