Remote Control, Keyboards & Phones
by Barbara Loraine
You may be the most clean conscious person in your household, but you’re probably still living with a major germ magnet right under your nose…or finger, for that matter. Recent studies at a number of major universities have confirmed that the remote control, keyboards, and phones are the dirtiest item in a typical home and a hotbed for contagious germs and viruses.
These are some of the most commonly overlooked household objects that nearly every American comes into contact with multiple times per day. In the case of your remote, it gets dropped on the floor, lost in the couch, coughed on, sneezed on, spilled on, and covered with any number of sticky messes. Most remotes are not designed to be easily cleanable and some TV remotes with a lot of nooks and crannies can’t be cleaned well even if you try to do so.
This is true even for hotels, hospitals and businesses that have professional cleaning crews working hard to provide a safe and clean environment for guests. In fact, the remote control in a typical hotel room is considered dirtier than the toilet, sink handles, door handles, and even the infamous bedspread, according to Dr. Charles Gerba in the environmental microbiology department at the University of Arizona.
Similar challenges are present with keyboards. With their nooks and crannies, and constant use, they are a hotbed for bacteria and germs. While smooth-surfaced phones are better, they still get covered with plenty of germs.
In addition to containing unpleasant remnants of urine, semen or feces, remote controls, keyboards, and phones can also play host to a number of cold viruses and other germs.
Researchers at the University of Virginia found that half of the remote controls that they tested for cold viruses had positive results. Active germs can live on remotes for at least 24 hours and can pass on a cold with as little as one push of the button.