Your Apple Watch band could be a breeding ground for potentially dangerous pathogens, according to a new study.
Scientists found that 95% of the watchbands they tested were contaminated with “bacteria of public health importance.” This proved especially true for rubber and plastic bands.
But there’s good news. The scientists also found that cleaning an Apple Watch band (or any watch band) removes all the potentially dangerous bacteria.
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Nasty bacteria contaminate nearly all Apple Watch bands
We wear our smartwatches everywhere, so it’s not surprising that they pick up some disgusting stuff. But just how filthy do they become with everyday wear? That’s the subject of “Prevalence and Disinfection of Bacteria Associated with Various Types of Wristbands,” a study recently published in Advances in Infectious Diseases.
Scientists at Florida Atlantic University tested wristbands made of plastic, rubber, metal and cloth, and worn by randomly recruited subjects — 12 males and eight females.
The search turned up dangerous bugs like staphylococcus, a common type of bacteria that can cause serious infections if it gets inside your skin, on 85% of the bands. And the researchers discovered pseudomonas spp on 30% of the bands. and enteric bacteria on 60%. The scientists said the presence of the latter two types “even at relatively low numbers is of public health significance.”
Men’s bands were generally dirtier than women’s, and rubber and plastic bands were especially prone to bacteria, as noted earlier. Metal bands, especially gold and silver ones, were not sterile, of course, but harbored relatively little bacteria.
Clean your Apple Watch band!
As part of the study, the scientists used a number of everyday disinfectants to clean the bands. Lysol Disinfectant Spray and 70% ethanol proved especially effective, with a greater than 99.99% kill rate within 30 seconds.
“All disinfectants tested reduced bacterial counts to 0 cfu/mL within 30 seconds for cloth and rubber wristbands, whereas a full 2-minute exposure was required for apple cider vinegar (ACV) to reduce bacterial counts to 0 cfu/mL on the plastic wristbands,” noted the study.
The scientists concluded that “the quantity and taxonomy of bacteria found on the wristbands in this experiment show that there is a need for regular and popular sanitation of these surfaces.”
In other words, go clean your Apple Watch. It’s probably disgusting.