Household spices and minerals as alternative disinfectants for mobile phones

(1) Lake Braddock Secondary School, Burke, Virginia, (2) iMater Academy, Hialeah, Floria, (3) Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
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Mobile phones play an essential role in enhancing personal, social, and professional life in many ways, including to access to communication, information, and entertainment. However, mobile phones also come in contact with environments containing high densities of microorganisms, such as hospitals, schools, restrooms, and kitchens, suggesting that mobile phones could also act as carriers of disease. Commercial disinfectants are highly effective against potential human pathogens found on mobile phones, yet these disinfectants also contain chemicals that are toxic to both human health and the environment. In addition, there is evidence that modern microorganisms are becoming resistant to commercially available disinfectants. We hypothesized that household spices and minerals, such as garlic, mint, zinc, and iron, could act as alternate solutions for disinfecting mobile phones after daily use. Our results demonstrate that garlic, iron, and zinc are just as effective at suppressing microorganisms compared to commercially available cleaners, Clorox and Pine-Sol. These results could help guide further research aimed at producing more environmentally friendly cleaners and reducing the need for toxic chemicals in household disinfectants.

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