Check Your Tech: The Presence of Bacteria on Consumer Electronics

Written by Haley Margies, North America Marketing Assistant

We’re surrounded by technology. Our devices speed up productivity, connect people around the world and foster creativity, but also can become distracting, addicting and even unmotivating.

Of all the reasons to have a love-hate relationship with your tech, have you ever considered how dirty consumer electronics can become?

Personal devices like cell phones travel everywhere from your workspace, to doctors’ offices, to the kitchen and more, picking up bacteria from daily use. Bacteria and dirt are transferred from your hands to the wide array of electronics used in your office and living spaces such as remotes, headsets and computer keyboards, and then picked back up when contacted with your face and hands.

For instance, a greater number of skin bacteria are found on cell phones as compared to any other object[1]. Bacteria multiply quickly at warm temperatures and our personal devices create the perfect environment by remaining cozy in our handbags and pockets. Many people even wonder if touchscreen devices increase infection risk.

The prevalence of these devices in our everyday lives creates the opportunity for microorganisms to migrate and multiply. A lot. The average desktop has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat[2]!

What’s worse, 49% of people don’t disinfect electronics[3]. Many people fear damaging their products as regular surface cleaners can be corrosive, while others are unaware of the volume of microbes present on their devices. Attempting to tackle the cleaning of your everyday electronics raises a new issue – how can this be done safely?


A Better Clean: Antimicrobial Protection for Consumer Electronics

Some people think cleaning their devices on a regular basis is enough - but is it really? One study found that surgeons who cleaned their phones once per week had a significant amount of bacteria present before their next scheduled cleaning[4].

There’s a solution that goes further than wiping down your electronics every once in a while. Built-in Microban® antimicrobial technology continuously fights the ability of microbes to survive on surfaces, thereby reducing them up to 99.9%. With a broad portfolio of formulations that can be customized for endless applications, Microban solutions can be incorporated into a variety of surfaces and materials to help protect electronic devices from the growth of surface bacteria.

To address the issue of consumer electronic product protection, Microban partners with multiple industry leaders including Speck, Fellowes, Cellularline Group and Poly.

Speck presidio pro phone cases antimicrobial technology half

Speck: Antimicrobial Cases

For the device most of us are never without, Speck offers antimicrobial phone cases that feature built-in Microban technology to actively inhibit the growth of stain and odor causing bacteria on the phone case surfaces. Built-in antimicrobial technology improves the durability and lifetime of the case beyond traditional use and results in a case that is 99% cleaner than unprotected cases.

Fellowes mousepad microban protection

Fellowes: Antimicrobial Computer Accessories

From the office to your home, Fellowes array of computer accessories are enhanced by the addition of built-in Microban product protection that works continuously to fight the growth of product damaging microbes. Treated products include keyboards, mouse pads and sit-stand workstations.

Cellularline group 2

Cellularline Group: Antimicrobial Screen Protectors

Cellularline glass screen protectors actively inhibit 99.9% of bacterial growth on their surface, helping products stay hygienically cleaner and fresher for longer. As your device comes into contact with your face, fingerprints and various surfaces, built-in Microban® antimicrobial technology offers protection from the growth of invisible enemies.

The benefits of consumer electronics treated with built-in Microban® antimicrobial product protection go beyond just surface cleanliness.

· Peace of mind – products stay cleaner and more hygienic in-between cleanings, complementing existing cleaning practices

· Reduced stains & odors – less bacteria on the product = an electronic device that stays looking better for longer

· Reduced risk of cross contamination – inherently cleaner products are less likely to aid in the transfer of microbes from surface to surface

· Extended usable lifetime of product – products remain cleaner and fresher and are protected from damage-causing microbial growth on their surfaces

· Not impacted by cleaning agents – antimicrobial properties of treated products are not diminished by deep cleaning agents

· Enhanced durability – products are less likely to degrade prematurely under recommended usage conditions

Mbns20 Microban How It Works Cellularline

A Value Beyond Clean

While inhibiting the growth of microbes on these surfaces is a main objective for Microban, our dedicated team of engineers and microbiologists think beyond just creating a cleaner, longer lasting surface. There are many special considerations regarding incorporating our technology into consumer electronics, including aesthetics, skin sensitivities and durability.

As the everyday use of electronics continues to increase, it’s important to be mindful in maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of these devices. Frequent handling and contact with contaminated surfaces can lead to build-up of dirt, oils and bacteria that speed up product degradation and leave consumers feeling unsettled.

Regular cleaning in combination with built-in Microban® antimicrobial technology is a safe and effective way to address these concerns. Microban® technology does not wash off or wear away, providing long-term protection from the growth of microbes which gives product users peace of mind.

There are still many opportunities to improve the cleanliness of everyday consumer electronics, including remotes, printers, speakers and more.

Discover how Microban® antimicrobial technology can benefit your devices.

References Details:

[1] Walia et al., 2014

[2] University of Arizona, 2012

[3] Panda Security, 2020

[4] Shakir et al., 2015

Walia SS, Manchanda A, Narang RS, N A, Singh B, Kahlon SS. Cellular telephone as reservoir of bacterial contamination: myth or fact. J Clin Diagn Res. 2014;8(1):50-53. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2014/6398.3948

Shakir, Irshad A. MD1; Patel, Nirav H. MD2; Chamberland, Robin R. PhD3; Kaar, Scott G. MD1 Investigation of Cell Phones as a Potential Source of Bacterial Contamination in the Operating Room, The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery: February 4, 2015 - Volume 97 - Issue 3 - p 225-231


Due to regulatory differences, the performance claims related to Microban® technologies that are referenced in this article may not be valid for use in all countries or regions. In some cases, legal regulations may restrict or prohibit the selection of available Microban® technologies, the field of application for which they are approved, and/or the permissible claims for finished goods containing Microban® technologies. For more information, view our official regulatory statement or contact us.

Microban® technologies are not designed to protect users or others from disease-causing microorganisms or viruses and are not a substitute for normal cleaning practices.

*Subject to the performance properties of the antimicrobial agent manufactured into your product. Treated product efficacy claims against specific microbes are dependent on the results of laboratory testing.