Saline swipes to keep your mobile phone bacteria-free

But if you only have time for a single swipe of a “dirty” phone, you’d be better off reaching for a disinfectant wipe, said the study.

The finding was made by a team of researchers in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta.

For the study, three types of bacteria—Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Enterococci (VRE) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa—were each prepared in a mixture and streaked onto sterile plastic Petri dishes, then allowed to dry.

Numerous bacteria contaminated plates were prepared throughout the summer—all in the same manner—so each type of bacteria could be tested with five different types of wipes and then again with varying amounts of swipes—one swipe, three swipes and five swipes.

Each 10 cm diameter plate was wiped for one second and in a manner that the entire surface was swiped, using a flat baton.

The plates were then allowed to dry for 10 minutes. Afterwards, bacteria samples were put onto special lab plates, incubated for at least 24 hours at 35 degrees and then the bacteria colonies were counted.

The researchers demon-strated that bacterial counts dropped significantly the more often a plate was swiped—regardless of the type of wipe used.

Swiping the contaminated plates three times decreased the bacterial load by 88 per cent on average, compared to just swiping a plate once.

Swiping a plate five times to three times did not result in an additionally significant decrease in bacteria.

And a simple saline wipe appeared to be just as effective as disinfectant wipes when the plates were swiped 3x or more.

However, if the plate was swiped just once—disinfectant wipes were better at reducing bacteria than simple saline wipes.

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