Since the global pandemic of 2020, the tech industry has seen some changes in product feature lists… Antimicrobial technology is not new, however, the more widespread use of this tech is.
Is antimicrobial here to stay? How has the global pandemic changed the tech industry standard?
What is Antimicrobial?
In the tech world, when something is referred to as having ‘antimicrobial technology’, it’s referring to a substance that is applied to the product that has the ability to reduce the presence of microbes.
Silver Ion and Copper Antimicrobial Additives are typically used in paints, polymers, and coatings. These are the ones you’ll usually find used to protect cases and screen protectors.
Not all antimicrobial additives offer the same performance from one to the other, with certain additives offering better antimicrobial protection for a longer duration than others. The efficacy of the antimicrobial additive used depends on the material it’s being used on, and the type of usage that material gets.
Antimicrobial vs Antibacterial
For a coating to be referred to as antimicrobial, it needs to be effective against a wide variety of microbes, including bacteria, mould, fungi, and most importantly in today’s day and age, viruses.
Something that is antibacterial is typically only effective against bacteria, which is not the same as a virus.
Why bother adding an antimicrobial coating to a phone case?
Well, phones are actually pretty gross… Your toilet seat for example is designed for your butt cheek, but you might be surprised to hear that what you put next to your face cheek when you chat on the phone is, on average, dirtier than where you put your butt cheek to do your business!
In fact, research suggests that smartphones are dirtier than the sole of your shoe, your kitchen counters, your toilet seat, and a pet’s food bowl.
Which makes sense. On average, we pick up our smartphones once every 12 minutes. Unless we’re washing our hands every 10 minutes and constantly wiping down any surfaces we put our devices on, they’re going to collect germs.
And let’s be honest, it’s not that common to find a stack of magazines in the bathroom anymore… we have the world’s collection of magazines on our smartphone for our bathroom entertainment! I feel you judging me through the screen, don’t lie to yourself, we all use our smartphones on the toilet… right?
Don’t Freak Out!
Yes, since the pandemic, it’s more important to keep our hands, our surfaces, and our smartphones clean. But it’s not something to panic over, because smartphone accessory companies all over have heard this concern and have introduced this new industry standard of including Antimicrobial Additives in a lot of their products since 2020.
QDOS for example have been using an antimicrobial coating on their OptiGuard screen protection range for a few years now, well before the pandemic. Since the pandemic, however, the antimicrobial coating is included in the majority of their smartphone accessory range.
Having been a part of the technology industry for over 20 years, Susan Lazareff, the founder and director of QDOS had this to say regarding the longevity of the antimicrobial feature in the tech industry...
“The antimicrobial feature is one that consumers look for now. It used to be a nice-to-have, but since the pandemic, consumers are much more aware of general health risks related to their tech, including the shocking stats around germs and microbes on our smartphones.
“Adding the antimicrobial coating to cases and screen protectors allows people to feel a bit safer, which is why I don’t think that the antimicrobial feature is going anywhere anytime soon, and we certainly don’t plan on excluding it from our future product lineup feature list.
“Antimicrobial is here to stay, which is why we’ve spent so much time ensuring that we’re using the most effective antimicrobial additives in our cases and screen protection. We want to reassure our customers as they go about using their technology on a daily basis. We’ve all had so much to worry about since March 2020, our hope is that this feature takes away even a small amount of stress for our customers.”
What’s the best way to sterilize my smartphone?
While antimicrobial coatings are effective at killing germs, one of the best ways that you can clean your tech is by using a UV Sanitizer (with UV-C light sterilization).
Tech companies introduced these neat cleaning devices to relieve consumers of stress around germs on their tech. You place your tech items inside the UV Sanitizer, turn it on and let the UV-C light work its magic for 3-10 minutes, obliterating microbes on anything inside the closed box.
This is the same technology that you may have already seen used in nail salons, doctors’ surgeries, and hospitals. UV-C light eliminates 99.9% of common surface bacteria and microbes, including viruses. The neat thing about these sanitisers is that you can put *anything that fits inside them, not just your tech. You can throw your keys in, masks, cash, wallet, so long as the box closes, it sanitizes!
*Please, don’t put food or miniature living beings inside the UV sanitiser. It will clean them but living beings will prefer a shower and your food will go cold.
If you’re concerned about germs on your smartphone, look for the antimicrobial feature on cases and screen protection, and be sure to clean your tech regularly using a UV Sanitizer. Make sure your UV sanitiser uses UV-C light if you’re looking for something that will not just kill bacteria, but also viruses.
If you want to protect yourself against COVID-19, be sure to follow the World Health Organisation recommendations and follow government guidelines. Wash your hands, mask up, stay safe and stay protected!