Complete Guidance About UV Phone Sanitizers

Smartphones are known to be rude. You’ve probably heard the toilet seat analogies before: the average phone is between seven and 10 times dirtier than most porcelain thrones, depending on who you ask, and one in six is allegedly contaminated with feces. (Really scary things.) If you check your phone as often as most people – that is, every 10 minutes or so – you are exposed to a lot of bacteria.

If your phone starts to get revolting, Apple, Google and major Android manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Huawei and Motorola recommend wiping it with a soft, lint-free cloth, a touch of warm soapy water and an alcohol swab. But as with cleaning electronic devices, this requires an extremely careful hand: excess moisture can cause serious damage if it gets into a connector or crack. (Take it from someone who ruined an Xbox controller this way: it doesn’t take much.) You also risk removing the protective layer of the screen, which makes it more vulnerable to smudges and fingerprints.

Also keep in mind that you really can’t tell if you’ve missed a post if you wipe your phone quickly – those poo germs might still be relaxing while you’re writing, talking and watching TikTok. There has to be a better way, right?

That’s the general idea behind ultraviolet (UV) phone sanitizers anyway.

What is a UV phone sanitizer?

Disinfection devices that use UV light to finish pathogens and superbugs have been around in the medical field for decades, but consumer-friendly adaptations are a recent development and have gained popularity amid the recent times. (See also: UV air purifiers and UV disinfection sticks.)

A UV phone sanitizer is basically just a small plastic or metal box with a few UV lamps or lamps that shine on your device during the disinfection cycle. In addition to avoiding moisture, fumes and residues, the most obvious advantage is the pure comfort factor: you simply place your phone in the disinfectant chamber, close the lid and let it do its thing for about five to ten minutes.

For best results, be sure to remove your device from its matter before disinfecting it. (Other small items such as PopSockets, keys, credit cards, glasses, smart watches and headphones should also fit there.)

How does UV light finish germs?

UV light is a form of electromagnetic radiation that you usually experience in the form of sunlight, although it can also be reproduced with artificial light sources. There are three different types of UV rays:

  • UV-A rays have the longest wavelengths. You will find them in solariums, insects and in the black lights of your local club.
  • UV-B rays have slightly shorter wavelengths. These can help the skin produce vitamin D3 (but can also cause sunburn) and are most often used in solariums alongside UV-A radiation.
  • UV-C rays have the shortest wavelengths. These are usually used for disinfection purposes, as they can damage the DNA of microbes. This directly finishs them or prevents them from functioning and multiplying.
  • NOTE: All UV light mentions below are specifically for UV-C rays.

Is UV light peril?

UV light is much more peril for a microbe than for a human, but the US Food and Medicine Administration nevertheless recommends caution: “Direct exposure of the skin and eyes to UV-C radiation from some UVC lamps can lead to painful eye damage and burns.similar skin reactions. Never look directly at a UVC lamp source, even briefly.”

The FDA also points out that UV light can break down plastic and polymers, but don’t worry: you would need hours of continuous exposure to cause significant damage to your phone.

Do UV phone sanitizers really work?

Steven Winkelman, the consumer electronics analyst at PCMag, has already covered this topic in a detailed explainer that you can read here. (Full disclosure: PCMag is owned by Mashable’s publisher, Ziff Davis.) We will not warm up the whole thing, but the main thing is this: somehow.

While UV light itself is very good at eliminating and stopping the spread of certain bacteria (including E. coli and Salmonella), the types of UV disinfectants sold to the public are quite dinky compared to those used in hospitals.

“Many UVC lamps sold for home use are low-dose,” says the FDA, “so it may take longer to be exposed to a certain surface to eventually provide effective inactivation of a bacteria or virus.”

To this end, it is also important to note that even though most manufacturers say that their phone sanitizers are 99.99% effective against common germs, very few can back up their claims with third-party laboratory tests.

We already know that hand washing, wearing masks, social distancing and vaccination are good enough to keep us germ-free – and these methods are all free or extremely inexpensive. Overall, UV hygiene should be your “second line of defense” against viruses and bacteria, says Winkelman.