Hate to break it to you but your smart home devices are probably filthy

Even though we don’t want to think about it, we know the devices we use all the time, like our phones or our laptop keyboards, are absolutely covered in bacteria.

But what about smart tech in the rest of the home?

Vivint, a company that sells smart home products, has conducted a study in which staff did swab tests on a home security system, which included a smart thermostat, remote, control panel tablet, security camera, and doorbell.

And the results are, well, gross.

Every surface was swabbed for colony-forming units (CFUs) – which is a unit of measurement for the number of certain types of living organisms.

One of their key takeaways was that the smart thermostat was the most bacteria-riddled part of the smart home security system, with a whopping 32.5 million CFUs.

To give you an idea of just how filthy that is, it’s three times the amount of bacteria as a kitchen sink. And the smart remote had 12 times the bacteria of a toothbrush holder.

Meanwhile, the control panel had five times more germs than bacteria in a pet food bowl, and the doorbell had seven times more CFUs than a bathroom tap handle.

Even the camera had four times the bacteria of a toilet flush handle. Lovely.

While this was a small study, and some households will no-doubt already have good smart device cleaning habits, when was the last time you cleaned yours?

How to clean your smart home tech

Vivnit recommends cleaning our devices once a week to make sure this kind of germ build-up doesn’t occur, except for security cameras, which can get away with being cleaned a couple times a year.

Use a microfiber cloth sprayed with glass cleaner to wipe down touch screens. With a smart remote, take out any batteries, and if it has buttons, give it a wipe with rubbing alcohol, a soap solution, or disinfectant wipes.

You can also use a cotton swab harder to reach areas, and a toothpick to dislodge any grime trapped in between the buttons. Put the batteries back when it’s dry.

With a smart doorbell camera, turn it off, unplug it, and/or take out any batteries. You can use an air duster on the lens and any crevises, then get a microfiber cloth wet with lens cleaning solution and wipe.

You can use a harsher disinfectant on some other parts of the doorbell, such as rubbing alcohol or antibacterial wipes, but never on or close to the camera lens.

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