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Seen At 11: How Effective Are Gadget Cleaning Products?

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — What’s likely dirtier than a toilet seat? Your cellphone.

That’s according to a recent study that revealed our gadgets are full of germs and bacteria.

There are a lot of products that claim to do a thorough cleaning, CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois reported. But do they really work?

Charles Gerba, a microbology professor at the University of Arizona, tested some in his lab to see if they really reduce or even eliminate bacteria.

Here’s what he found:

• Some wipes that claim to disinfect cellphone and cost about $20 a box “reduced the number of bacteria to an undetectable level”

• An $8 disinfectant spray that claims to kill 95.5 percent of germs got rid of about 95.5 percent. “The spray solution seemed to eliminate the number of bacteria very readily from the surface,” Gerba said

• An ultraviolet cleaner priced under $10 eliminated about 73 percent of germs

• A $40 ultraviolet cleaner reduced the germs down to zero.

Arthur Zilberman, an electronics expert and owner of LaptopMD.com, said doing the basics can also be effective to de-germ a phone.

“Wipes, alcohol, sanitizer, paper towels — they all do the trick,” he said.

He suggested sanitizing your hand, just as you normally would, then taking your phone and rolling it around in your hand.

Zilberman cautioned about using wet cleaners.

“There are what they call entry points in a phone where the water can get in and do some severe damage,” he said.

The openings — the power source, headphone jack and speaker — need to be kept dry, unless you have a waterproof gadget.

If the manufacturer says your device is waterproof, the best way to sanitize it is to wash it — submerge it in water and clean it with soap.

Experts also recommend using a case with a film over the front for easier cleaning.

Some brave college students let CBS 2 swab their smartphones, with a result that was deemed “gross.” The high level of germs and bacteria that was discovered alarmed Xandy Peterson.

“I have it in bed with me, and I eat with it next to me,” Peterson said.

And Koyia Tuttle found his cleaning method might not be so effective.

“My idea of cleaning my phone is wiping it on my shirt or my pants,” he said.

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