The (Other) Digital Detox

(this is live bacteria on your phone)

(this is a plateholder from container store)


If we asked you to name the germiest place in the house, you’d probably say “the bathroom.”  Wrong! It’s your digital devices (especially that slippery germ brick otherwise known as an iPhone that you’re holding to your face right now).

According to a recent article in Forbes:

A variety of studies and reports over the years have put the average bacteria per square inch on a toilet seat somewhere between 50 and almost 300 for household potties and over 1,000 for the public varieties. Yet our own handheld electronics harbor even more bacteria than that.”

Really? More bacteria than a public toilet?! Yep. You’re staring down the barrel of bacteria colonies like: streptococcus, bacillius mycoides and maybe even fecal coliforms (otherwise known as poo). Ewwwww.

The article goes on to list the worst offenders:

1. Your Phone: You take it everywhere, right? You put it down on the bar and on restaurant tables; taxi seats and maybe even a public bathroom tank or sink. Then you bring it home and put it on the dining table, kitchen counter or your bedside table.

Hello, bacteria counter! According to another 2012 study at the University of Arizonaour smartphones carry up to 10 times more bacteria than most public toilets seats. Other studies have put that number much higher.

2. Your iPad/Tablet: Basically your phone with a bigger surface area (to hold more germs)

3. Game controllers: Those sticky little fingers aren’t always great about washing hands after going to the bathroom, are they? So it’s really no surprise that controllers are a whopping 5 times dirtier than a toilet seat on the average. Ugh.

4. Your Keyboard+ Mouse: Frankly, we thought this one would be higher up on the list. They host merely 3 times more germs than the average public loo. Nice. 

5. Remote controls: We never touch the remote in a hotel room until we’ve given it a generous spritz of cleaner. Fact. And even though it’s cleaner than the loo seat (talk about lowering the bar) we’re not taking any chances.

So. Now that you are totally grossed out, here’s what to do to fix it:

1. Wash your hands. It’s the simplest thing and you’ve heard it before, but you would be SHOCKED to know how many well-dressed grown-ups just swing out of the bathroom with dirty hands.

2. Notice where you put your phone down! This goes for any hand held device. Use a napkin or better yet, keep it in your pocket or bag at dinner. That's what you’re supposed to do, anyway!

3. Clean your stuff. Make it a Friday afternoon ritual to clean your mouse, keyboard and all your devices before you head out for the weekend. That way, you’re (literally) starting with a clean slate on Monday. You just need a simple, alcohol based cleaner that’s safe for use on electronic devices.  And spray the cloth, not the device. Duh.