Your dirty smartphone is an 'allergen reservoir': this is an effective way to clean it

Your dirty smartphone is an ‘allergen reservoir’: this is an effective way to clean it

  • The researchers behind a new study say your smartphone is a haven for allergens.
  • Everyone should clean their smartphones and devices on a regular basis.
  • However, if you are prone to allergies or asthma, these results are especially important for you.

We take our smartphones everywhere, and while that’s okay, we might forget that they’re also a breeding ground for germs. Previous research has shown that our phones are much dirtier than we think: a study by scientists at the University of Arizona found that your phone Ten times dirtier than most toilet seats. Total.

Harvard University also highlights just that 1 in 20 people clean their phone more than twice a year. While News24 explained previously That bacteria love warmth and that your phone’s battery creates an ideal breeding ground for (relatively harmless) bacteria that might lead to an unnecessary cold snap or even an acne breakout.

Read more | These are the 15 dirtiest items in your house

But that’s not the only reason we should be stumped: A new study suggests that our smartphones also host allergens, such as mold and pet dander.

In a study using simulated smartphone models, researchers found elevated levels of cat and dog allergens, as well as beta-glucans (BDG) and endotoxins.

How often do you clean your smartphone? Let us know here.

Hannah Roran, lead author of the study, explained in a press release: “BDGs are found in the cell walls of fungi and have been found on many environments and surfaces causing chronic airway and irritant symptoms, making BDGS an established marker for studying the mold problem.” She added that endotoxin is also present in the environment and is a potent inflammatory bacterial toxin.

these results, Reported by Rouran and colleagues From the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, especially for people who are prone to allergies or have asthma. If this is you, researchers advise that you should clean your smartphone more frequently to reduce the risk of allergies or asthma triggers.

Read more | The most germ-infested item in your kitchen, plus the 5 golden rules of food hygiene

Peter Thorne, a professor in the University of Iowa Department of Public Health and co-author of the study, says:

The study demonstrates exposure to inhaled allergens and molecules that trigger innate immune reactions from a source most people would not have considered. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, you may want to consider cleaning your smartphone more often to reduce exposure to allergens and asthma triggers.

one expert told Healthline The results weren’t far fetched, as allergens can be found everywhere, including in hair, clothes, and shoes, so it’s not surprising that they can also be found on our smartphones.

“If you touch your phone and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, allergens can enter the nose, respiratory tract, or mucous membrane of the eye,” said Dr. Pyle Gupta, national medical spokesperson for the American Lung Association.

How to clean your phone

For the study, the team created phone models similar in size and surface to a real phone. The front surface of the phone model was wiped as part of the test.

Researchers used ElectroStatic Wipes to clean the phones of 15 volunteers, then measured levels of allergens, BDG, and endotoxins.

According to the study authors, the chemicals they used in the mixtures to clean phones can be purchased through laboratories or chemical suppliers, but they are not commercially available in the same concentrations used in the study. The following chemicals have been tested to reduce BDG and endotoxins:

  • 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • Unbleached Clorox (0.184% benzyl and ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride)
  • 0.12% chlorhexidine
  • 0.05% cetylpyridinium
  • 3% benzyl benzoate
  • 3% tannic acid wipes

A combination of chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium has been shown to be most effective in reducing BDG and endotoxins on smartphones, while a combination of benzyl benzoate and tannic acid significantly reduces allergens in cats and dogs.

But because these chemicals aren’t easily accessible to consumers, experts advise using alcohol wipes to disinfect your smartphone (and other digital devices). Here’s how to clean it the right way, according to the experts at Harvard:

  • Turn off your device.
  • Remove dust and debris with a dry lens-cleaning towel or a lint-free cloth.
  • Use a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe by gently wiping the surfaces of your device, including the screen. It is available in Clicks for R25 (per box of 30 wipes) or Dis-Chem for R20 (per pack of 15 wipes).
  • Allow the surfaces of your device to air dry for a few minutes before restarting your device.

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