I think you would all agree that we’ve become a society attached to our phones and tablets. They go EVERYWHERE with us and for many may be in our hand from the time our feet hit the floor in the morning to the time we lay our head on the pillow a night. We use it in the bathroom and the kitchen. It touches our face, we lay in on our desk, on the restaurant table at lunch and of course we pick it up off the ground after we’ve dropped it.
Did you know that our beloved phones are dirtier than toilet seats? In fact a found that 1 in every 6 phones have poop on them. Whose phone have you used lately because you may have shared more than you had intended! Why are our phones so dirty? Aside from being addicted to our phones, we also happen to touch more surfaces than any other generation in history. We have ATM machines, self-checkout kiosks, every keypad we use for our debit or credit cards and the list goes on. Our hands are everywhere and with that comes a transfer of germs from surfaces to our hands to our phones. While we may wash our hands before we eat do we wash our phone before we use it? Nope. We like to eat the poop and rub our lips in whatever germs are found on our electronic best friends.
So why don’t we clean them? Well, they don’t really come with cleaning instructions and even if you are a germophobe and want to clean your phone, finding credible instructions or instructions that will actually do something can be relatively impossible. If you’re an Apple user you can be happy to know that they do not recommend any form of liquid, detergent or disinfectant. Google says it’s okay to use household soap and Motorola suggests using a microfiber cloth and a little water.
The problem is these instructions really do not take into account how to manage devices we use in healthcare (human or animal) settings. The truth of the matter is that cellphones are going to have bacteria on them because we have bacteria naturally occurring on our skin and our normal flora isn’t a cause for concern. It’s the viruses we put on them from coughing while we talk or from using our phones after using the restroom and or from touching surfaces in a patient’s room and then using our electronic devices. We need to do more than wiping with a microfiber cloth, using a cleaning cloth and water or a cleaning cloth and household soap. We are dealing with antibiotic resistant bacteria and pathogens that giggle at our belief that a dry cloth is sufficient to kill them. Even though microfiber cloths have been shown to remove pathogens, is it enough? According to a , disinfectant wipes could be effectively used for disinfection without negatively impacting the appearance or functionality of the iPads used in the test.
So what do I do? Well, since my kitten likes to play games on my iPad and we know cats don’t necessarily have the cleanest feet and I also have a 10 year old germ infested son, you can be sure that I use a disinfectant wipe that I trust to kill what I want gone in as quick a time as possible. My phone and iPad are just fine. The truth is, I value my health more than I value my electronic device, but I also make sure that I’m not letting any liquid get into areas it shouldn’t be!