With access to the world at our fingertips, it's no surprise that our smartphones essentially become a petri dish for every germ imaginable.
Think about it ... everything we touch throughout the day comes back to our phones. We might take public transportation, press elevator buttons, and open doors, all while texting and scrolling through our phones (and that's all before our workday even begins).
Then, you sit down at your desk and get down to business on equipment that probably hasn't been sanitized in weeks or months, if ever.
It's a germaphobe's worst nightmare, for sure, but we can all appreciate just how nasty our most-touched items can get. Even worse, you can wash your hands all you want, but all that scrubbing is for nought if you don't also keep the items and surfaces that you touch sanitized, too.
So how can you effectively "wash" the germs off of the things around you?
Well, one of the easiest and most effective ways to sanitize and disinfect your phone and other gadgets is with UV light technology.
How Does UV Light Sanitization Work?
No, we're not talking about blacklights. This isn't a rave ... but those germs are having a party on all of your stuff.
The UV light spectrum consists of UV-A, UV-B and UV-C lights. It's the UV-C light that can kill germs, so that's what you want to look for when searching for a sanitizing product.
When aimed at dirty surfaces, UV-C light essentially destroys the DNA or RNA of bacteria and viruses so they no longer pose a threat.
Recently, machines delivering high doses of ultraviolet light have been utilized to help sanitize planes and prevent the spread of disease, while autonomous UV-emitting robots have been dispatched to disinfect hospitals.
But Does It Really Work?
This UV-C light technology admittedly does have its limitations, according to Philip Tierno, PhD, a clinical professor of pathology at NYU Langone Medical Center.
“This light has a range of effectiveness, which interferes and destroys the nucleic acids of bacteria and other microbes,” he explained. “[But] UV-C penetrates superficially, and the light can’t get into nooks and crannies.”
Because UV-C sanitization works best on smooth surfaces, it is likely to be most effective on phones and cases without a lot of crevices for germs to hide. Some products, however, are designed to hit objects with UV-C light from multiple angles to try and cover as much surface area as possible.
Sure, you could just use antibacterial wipes — if you can find them these days — but the UV light sanitizers have the added environmental benefit of producing less waste. So that's another tick in the "pro" column. Plus, they bring great peace of mind to back up your good hygiene habits, especially during cold and flu season … not to mention when we're in the midst of a global pandemic.
So, while it's not currently possible to have an industrial-grade, UV-blasting bot follows you around everywhere you go (as awesome as that would be), the next best thing is to keep your most-touched items as clean as possible.
That's why we've rounded up the best UV sanitizers and cleaners to reduce the germ count on your phone and other high-traffic daily gadgets.
And maybe stop bringing your phone into the bathroom with you. That's a great place to start, too.