Today’s blog is going to be something a little different. As you might have noticed, there is still a global pandemic going on that has turned our world upside down and made us think differently about how we go about ensuring that our environments are safe and free of germs. A recent study is sure to have you thinking about how clean our gaming setups actually are though as the results of the study conducted by Fasthosts- an internet access and hosting service- suggest that gaming desks are at risk of being more germ-ridden than a toilet seat.
The study involved swabbing seven different surfaces and items five times for different reference points. These items and surfaces were a toilet seat, kitchen bin and doormat- which acted as the usual home surfaces where you would expect more germs than usual- as well as a keyboard, desk chair, computer mouse and desk (the usual suspects in gaming setups). These tests were conducted via the Hygiena UltraSnap Surface ATP Test and were then analysed with the EnSure Touch monitoring system. This analyse was used to determine the Relative Light Unit results or the RLU.
The results work as follows: each RLU reading is determined from the level of Adenosine Triphosphate (or ATP, an organic compound and hyrdotrope that provides energy and initiates various important processes in living cells) that is collected from the swab. Bear with me, I know this is getting a little technical but I think it’s a necessary information overload. There is then a reading that is given and this reading comes from the relationship between the RLU and the ATP, which is distinguished as follows:
- High contamination (dirtiness/improper cleaning = Larger ATP Value.
- High rates of ATP will produce more light for the EnSure Touch Monitoring System to detect.
- Therefore, the higher the RLU reading, the dirtier the sample is.
Still with me? No? Well, I’m continuing anyway. The RLU reading works like this; anything with a value of 50 or lower counts as a “pass”. It is clean, basically. A reading of higher than 50 fails, so it is dirty. When it came to this study, the RLU of each swabbed item was noted and the final value was determined from the average of each RLU score. So with all of that in mind, let’s take a look at the results of the study from Fasthosts.
1. Desk – RLU score of 606
2. Kitchen Bin- RLU score of 392
3. Keyboard – RLU score of 382
4. Desk chair – RLU score of 310
5. Computer mouse – RLU score of 260
6. Toilet seat – RLU score of 209
7. Doormat – RLU score of 209
Yikes. That is more than a little scary. I really wanted to highlight this as it’s important at the best of times but with the world currently fighting a deadly virus, it seems to be a prudent topic now more than ever. So make sure you get to cleaning and keep your gaming setups free from germs to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. Have a read of the full study for yourself here. I’m going to end this somewhat lecture like blog today with some input from Dr Jonathan Cox- a microbiologist from Aston University- who explains how germs are more attracted to places where we conduct most of our gaming sessions. Just make sure to utilise that hand sanitizer whenever you can, including when you are gaming:
‘Germs like moist, high contact or nutrient-rich surfaces. Moisture transferred from your fingertips onto your keyboard is sufficient to sustain a thriving ecosystem of microorganisms. The bacteria found on desks lack the ability to attack us unless we inject them into our body e.g., typing while eating crisps and not washing our hands regularly. Bacterial transfer from us to our environment is inevitable, and therefore a tidy desk with minimal objects is easier to disinfect and therefore is less likely to harbour large microbial communities. Disinfection wipes and surface cleansers can also help to keep the bacterial load down, as well as keeping desks clutter-free.’