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Why you should keep your smartwatch wristband clean
Published on: Sunday, September 10, 2023
By: ETX Daily Up, FMT
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Recent research has found that smartwatch wristbands are a hotbed for bacteria. (Edwin Kee pic)
Smartwatches are a dime a dozen these days, useful in helping you track a range of metrics from the number of steps you take per day to your oxygen levels and even quality of sleep.

Well, here’s some ick-inducing news: a recent US study carried out by researchers at Florida Atlantic University reveals that watch straps, including those of smartwatches and fitness trackers, can be veritable hotbeds of bacteria, some of which can be harmful to the body.

Fortunately, there are simple ways to keep them clean.

Published in the journal “Advances in Infectious Diseases”, the overwhelming majority of wristbands analysed (95%) were found to be contaminated, with rubber and plastic straps in particular showing higher bacterial counts. This can be explained by the fact that porous, static surfaces tend to attract bacteria and allow them to grow.

Gold and silver surfaces, on the other hand, showed little bacterial activity.

What’s most worrying is that many dangerous bacteria were found in this study, such as Staphylococci and even E. coli, which can cause serious illness in some cases, including skin conditions and infections.

Another finding was that the highest levels of Staphylococci were found on wristbands worn while exercising, underlining the need for regular disinfection after workouts. This is especially pertinent for those who exercise indoors in close proximity to other people.

As for the best way of eradicating these bacteria, the researchers recommend the use of a disinfectant spray such as Lysol or 70% ethanol, which are highly effective regardless of the wristband’s material. These solutions can eliminate 99.99% of these bacteria in just 30 seconds.

Alcohol wipes and apple cider vinegar are also effective, but require longer contact times for effective results.

There were no significant differences between watches worn by men and those worn by women.

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