cloroxRemember the line from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy about how a civilization that got rid of “useless” occupations like “telephone sanitizers” was wiped out by a disease caught from a dirty telephone?

We all laughed at the time, but sanitation of telephones—and, for that matter, e-readers—is no laughing matter in the here and now. Any surface that gets touched repeatedly by many people picks up a potentially-horrifying collection of germs—especially germs from fecal matter. That’s why many grocery stores have sanitary wipe dispensers with their shopping carts now. And what do people touch (and use in the bathroom!) more frequently than their phones?

This is the approach taken by an article on Ozy about the problem. The article is a couple of years old, but the problem hasn’t exactly gone away. The article proclaims, “Using a disinfectant wipe is one way to get out of germs’ way — but given how sensitive today’s internal phone parts are, moisture isn’t exactly the best idea.” So naturally it turns around and plugs a $60 phone charger and sanitizer gizmo that uses ultraviolet light, just like those things you can stick in your shoes to sanitize them from the inside.

The thing is, I don’t see the actual problem with using a disinfectant wipe. It’s not as if you’re dropping your e-reader in the bathtub! There are moist wipes out there expressly for the purpose of cleaning the screen on your mobile devices; how could a Clorox wipe be any worse? For that matter, the phone charger gizmo isn’t big enough to sanitize tablets and e-readers, so you’d have to find another solution for them anyway.

Plus, if you’re really cheap, you can just clean your phone every time you go to get groceries, before you run that sanitizing wipe over the shopping cart’s handle. In the mean time, it might be a good idea to get in the habit of washing your hands really well before every meal.

How do you sanitize your phone? Any better suggestions?


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