When you think of filthy, germ-laden spots inside your home, you probably think of your kitchen, bathroom, and even possibly the garage. But it would probably never occur to you that a lot of the items you use everyday are actually hotbeds of bacteria and viruses that are just waiting to get you sick. One of the secretly filthy things you never knew you owned is the remote control. Yes, that thing that you use when streaming Netflix has probably been collecting a major amount of dirt since you first bought it.
How Dirty is the Remote Control?
Who would have ever thought that you'd be concerned about having a clean remote control? But the facts don't lie. It's a major germ hub that makes channel surfing a risky activity.
Let's take the remote control inside your home. Think about it. Your remote control is probably handled by different people in a single day. You touch it with sticky fingers after dipping your hand in a bowl of popcorn. It falls on the ground where you just tracked in dirt from the outside. Plus, it's what you most often handle when you're not feeling well; you jump into bed and watch your heart out when you have a cold or the flu. This means you (and anyone else in your home) have probably coughed on it and/or sneezed on it at one time or another.
When There Is A Baby And Children In The House
It's an undeniable fact that remote controls are attractive to babies and little kids. There are loads of colorful buttons they can push and a flashing light that shows whenever they use any of the buttons. Not to mention, it causes the TV to go on and off as well as changes the channel! However, as we've already pointed out, remote controls are one of the grossest things in your entire home. And children are most likely one of the reasons why. Besides, babies and little kids have more chances to get sick. That's not the only danger this everyday gadget has in store for little kids. Remote controls are made up of several small parts that can cause choking. It also uses batteries which can be fatal when ingested.
In a Hotel
One would think that remote controls in hotel rooms would be relatively cleaner in comparison to the one in your home. After all, they have a professional cleaning crew that ensures their guests enjoy a safe, clean environment. However, according to Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona's Environmental Microbiology Department, what might look like a clean remote control is actually far dirtier than the door handles, sink handles, and the toilet. It could contain residues of semen, urine, and/or feces due to some guests who fail to wash their hands properly. In addition to that, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia shows that half of the remote controls they tested were host to cold viruses. These germs can live a minimum of 24
hours on the surface of the remote control which means you can easily become infected just by pushing the buttons.
How Often You Should Clean The Remote Control
Obviously, you DO need to clean your remote control unless you want bacteria and viruses to continue to thrive on its surface. Does that mean that you need to clean it every day? Well, you definitely can. There’s nothing wrong with cleaning a remote control every single time you want to use it. If you want to prevent sickness, you’ll need to clean your remote at least once a week. If someone in the house got sick, make sure to clean the remote afterward to prevent the spreading of germs.
How to Clean Remote Control
So, when was the last time you cleaned it? Even if you did, did you disinfect it? A TV remote has a lot of nooks and crannies courtesy of all those buttons. Simply wiping it down once isn't going to cut it. And getting the entire surface disinfected without damaging the unit isn't going to be easy. Fortunately, there’s the internet which can provide you with all the information you need to make sure that cleaning a remote control is as easy as pie.
Difference Between Digital And No Display Remotes
There are two types of remote controls you'll come across - a digital remote and a no-display remote control. Digital remotes can feature an LCD screen that displays data or a touchscreen that can receive input. A no-display remote is the regular one that you've been using since you were a kid. The type of remote control you have will dictate how you will clean your remote control.
To clean your remote, you'll need a cotton cloth, a mild soapy solution, a spray bottle or bowl, rubbing alcohol
, cotton swabs, toothpicks, and a lint-free cloth. One alternative to rubbing alcohol is a homemade solution comprised of one part vinegar and two parts water. Another alternative is an alcohol-free disinfecting wipe
which is what we recommend. More on that below.
Steps To Clean The Remote Control
- Before you start cleaning, make sure that you have already removed the batteries from the back of the remote.
- Then dampen your cotton cloth with rubbing alcohol / the vinegar-water mixture. You can also opt to use the disinfecting, alcohol-free wipe.
- Thoroughly wipe down your remote control. Make sure to include the battery cavity.
- Then, dip the cotton swab into your cleaning solution to clean the various nooks and crannies of the remote control.
- Use a toothpick to remove any grime inside the buttons.
- Dry all parts of the remote with the lint-free cloth.
- Once the remote control is completely dry, place back the batteries and store it to avoid too much exposure to germs.
If You Use a Digital Remote:
Mix equal parts of alcohol and distilled water into a clean spray bottle. Make sure to avoid using tap water as it will leave streaks o your screen after you're done cleaning. Spray the solution onto a microfiber cloth. Make sure that it's only damp and not wet. Never spray the solution directly onto your LCD screen
. Wipe it gently from top to bottom until you have thoroughly cleaned the surface. Only turn on the remote control when the LCD screen has dried completely.
What You Should Avoid Doing While Cleaning Remote
While alcohol is a good way to disinfect your remote control, you need to take care in using it because of two reasons. One, some plastics don't react well to alcohol, especially after prolonged exposure, causing the material to crack or stiffen. Two, alcohol can actually remove the letters and numbers on the buttons. For this reason, we do recommend that you use an alcohol-free disinfecting wipe to sanitize your remote control. Also, if you’re using a digital remote, don't use tissues or rags to clean your LCD screen as it can cause significant damage to it.
When It is Better to Replace Your Remote Control
Obviously, you need to replace your remote control as soon as it stops working. Aside from that, is there any reason why it would be better to replace your remote control instead of cleaning it? Not really. As long as you’re diligent about cleaning the remote control once a week, you and your family should be safe
There are plenty of other hotbeds of germs that can be found in your home, but probably none are as innocent-looking as the average remote control. Remember, 80% of common infections are spread by hands
. So, washing your hands frequently and making sure the things you touch are clean can significantly decrease the likelihood of you and your family members getting sick.