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  • How to Reduce Germs On Your Smartphone and Other Devices

    Our devices rank high on the germ scale. Here's how to keep them cleaner.

    Think twice before setting down your smartphone in a pile of germs.

    Consider this: That smartphone you carry around with you all day, every day, has more germs than a toilet seat. Remotes and other technologies are right up there on the dirtiness scale, too. Try these tips to reduce bacteria, viruses and other germs on all your devices and help keep them from returning.

    • Wash your hands.

      We touch many well-handled items on any given day—money, public doorknobs, toilet flush-handles. If you then pick up a device or use a keyboard, you’re giving those germs a new home right there on your technology-of-choice. The easiest fix? Wash hands well with soap and water throughout the day.

    • Be careful where you set it.

      People set tablets, remotes and smartphones down in the dirtiest places. If the kitchen counter is surprisingly grubby, just imagine what’s lurking on spots such as gym mats and the bathroom sink. Actually, anywhere in the bathroom’s not a great idea, since flushing sprinkles all kinds of disgusting particles into the air. Make it a habit to think twice before setting gadgets down around you.

    • Share selectively.

      Hand that smartphone/remote/game controller over to your friend or kid and boom! Whatever germs they’re toting around are waiting right there for you on the touchscreen/buttons/joystick. Resist sharing as best you can, especially if sniffles or coughs are involved.

    • Keep it clean.

      You clean your clothes and home regularly. Why not the devices you handle regularly, too? Shoot for daily or weekly, depending on frequency of use. Bonus: Cleaning can also keep devices running better longer. Be careful to clean them appropriately to avoid doing more harm than good.

    • Tech cleaning 101

      Don’t spray anything directly on your device. In general, you can wipe both screen and body down with a soft water-dampened cloth.

      Pre-moistened gadget wipes or a cloth barely dampened with a 50-50 mixture of 70 percent rubbing alcohol and distilled water can help target germs, too, though check with your manufacturer first, as some recommend against using alcohol.

      A toothpick and cotton swab combo works great for getting into corners and other hard-to-reach spots, including between remote control buttons.

      You could also invest in a device sanitizer, such as a wand, box or case.