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How Many Germs Are On Your Home Tech?

TV remote

If COVID-19 has left a positive impact on our lives, we need to get rid of germs also, that we’re responsible for most of the germs left on everything in the home and elsewhere.

Have you ever taken the time to consider the number of germs you encounter each day?

We’re not just talking about the germs flying through the air when someone sneezes in your direction or those germs clinging to your toddlers’ fingers.

The reality is that germs are virtually everywhere in our world – and they exist in all the things we interact with – including our tech.

Whether you’re swiping your smartphone screen, tapping at your keyboard, or flicking through TV channels, you’re dealing with a device exposed to countless sources of germs and bacteria.

Now that most of us are more cautious about germs than ever before, it’s time to get serious.

Broadband Genie experimented to discover how many germs are actually on your household tech to show you if you’re really at risk.

The Experiment: How Dirty are Your Devices?

To conduct their experiment, Broadband Genie chose a selection of common tech products around the home, including:

  • A games console controller
  • An iPad/tablet
  • A TV remote
  • A light switch
  • A mobile phone

All of these devices are items we tend to interact with regularly, though in different ways. Unfortunately, these products also represent common hiding places for germs and viruses. To determine the dangers of each of these items, the team used UV powder, which lights up under an ultraviolet torch, to see what was lingering (unseen) on each product.

What the Team Discovered

The test examined how much of the UV powder (representing germs) was transferred onto the electronic device from a participant’s hand. This research revealed which devices are most likely to be contaminated and which products absorb the most bacteria.

The test involved applying the UV powder to the tester’s skin under normal lighting conditions, where the powder was invisible. Then, the researcher handled each device normally, flicking light switches, swiping phones, and tapping tablets. Using each object in its intended way offered an insight into how the design of each tech product can feature its own distinct risks.

The results revealed

Mobile phone

Lots of marking across the screen and crevices around the screen and buttons to capture additional powder (bacteria). This is pretty worrying when you consider how often smartphones are exposed to bathrooms and other unhealthy environments.

Studies even say smartphones have up to 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.


The iPad or tablet is simply a larger version of the mobile phone in a lot of ways. However, it’s commonly used by more than one person, allowing for cross-contamination.


Tablets can hold up to 600 units of staphylococcus, compared to only 20 units for the standard toilet seat.

Light switch

The light switch had smears of powder on the switch and in the crevices around it. Because all household members commonly use this product, the bacteria on your switch can come from various sources. Tests indicate that light switches can hold up to 200 bacteria per square inch.

The television remote

Like the mobile phone, the TV remote collected a lot of powder on top of the buttons, but the crevices around the buttons created great spaces for bacteria to high. Research demonstrates that, like smartphones, your television remote often holds more bacteria than the standard toilet seat.

The games console controller

Again, the powder gathered in various controller areas, including around the grips and button areas. Games consoles controllers have plenty of crevices where bacteria can build up. Researchers find that gaming controllers have about 7,863 units of bacteria per 100 square centimetres.

Keep Your Tech Germ Free

clean hands

The technology in your home can be a breeding ground for bacteria, contamination, and viruses. Smaller devices with various buttons and openings have plenty of spaces where microscopic invaders can hide.

However, by washing your hands and your devices regularly, it is possible to reduce the spread of bacteria.

Washing your hands regularly and engaging in good respiratory hygiene (using tissues) are two of the most common things we’ve all gotten used to doing over the last year. Cleansing surfaces regularly with sanitisers makes sense too.

You can sheath certain devices in wipeable coverings that protect them from scratches and moisture and reduce the small spaces that attract bacteria.

Remember, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning devices.

Liquids and electronics typically don’t mix, so look for approved cleaning wipes designed for gadgets, or consider using a UV light cleaning system for a tech-savvy way to protect your gadgets.

When using sprays to clean devices, remember not to spray directly onto the device, but use a microfibre cloth instead.

In the struggle against bacteria, the small things make a big difference. So keep your technology clean, and you’ll protect yourself and your family.

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