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December 14, 2010

Don’t go viral! Why you should keep your touch screen clean

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How many times a day do you touch your touch screen? Ten, twenty, a hundred? The simple truth is that most of us smartphone owners probably fondle our phones more than we do our loved ones. And as a result of this, it seems that our touch screens have became awash with viruses and germs. While this might not be that surprising, what will send a shiver of shock down your spine is the news that, according to a British study, your average smartphone has 18 times more germs than a toilet handle!

We never wash

We all know that any object attracts germs, but that’s still a pretty astounding figure, until you consider how many times people clean their touch screen. After a quick straw poll here at the Nseries blog, we discovered that a grand total of zero of us have ever washed theirs. Granted we may not be a very representative sample of the general population, but how many people do you know who take touchscreen hygiene seriously?

Germs at your fingertips

This might not be such a big deal if wasn’t for the fact that we so often share our devices, whether it’s to show a snapshot or let someone browse the web. Another study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology showed that if you touch a screen, 30 percent of any viruses that have taken up residence upon it will end up on your fingertips.

“If you’re sharing the device, then you’re sharing your influenza with someone else who touches it,” said Timothy Julian, a Stanford University doctoral student who co-authored the study. As the season for influenza begins again, the ubiquity of touch screen devices is just another thing for a health freak to worry about.

But before you grab your facemask and run for the hills, we’ve put together a list of simple tips that will help you avoid touch screen nasties.

Keep it clean

To clean your product, you can wipe them down with special wipes you can buy at an electronics store. They also have cleaners you can buy if you’re concerned about damage.

Wash up

Wash your hands with soap and water. Wash them for at least 15 seconds or as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.” You can also use a hand sanitizer as well.

Look don’t touch

Next time someone wants to check their email on your phone or show off the latest viral video on YouTube, tell them they can look but not touch. Otherwise you both risk going viral.

Protect yourself

If you really mean business, you can always go for the hardcore cleanliness option and buy yourself a screen protector with an antimicrobial coating material.

Follow these simple steps, and coming to terms with all those germs will hopefully seem a little less daunting.