The Truth About TV Remotes Will Make You Never Want to Touch One Again

Could you get sick just from changing the channel?


When you think about germ-ridden spots in your home, places like the bathroom or the kitchen might come to mind. Yet one major dirt-collecting culprit is actually lurking in your TV room.

That’s right—your remote control is probably a major germ hub. Your channel changer most likely comes into contact with several different hands in one day. The remote falls on the floor, bounces around the couch, and collects dust behind your TV. Add to that the fact that, if you eat in front of the TV, you’re touching the remote with your dirty, sticky hands. Upping the ick factor even more, consider that your remote has probably been sneezed on, touched with semi-clean hands, stepped on…you get the picture.

Another contributing factor is the fact that this gadget gets dirty—and it doesn’t often get clean. Think about it: When’s the last time you cleaned your TV remote, if ever? If you did, you probably noticed that getting it truly clean was no small feat. Remotes are full of little nooks and crannies around the buttons, making cleaning them a challenge. Combine all these dirty truths, and a single push of a button could be all it takes to catch a cold from a germy remote, according to the University of Virginia.

And that’s just in your home. When you travel, you’ll want to be even more wary about touching the remote, because TV remotes are one of the dirtiest items in hotel rooms, by far. You know nothing about the cleanliness habits of the previous hotel guests, and probably don’t want to find out the hard way by getting sick.

Before you panic, though, this problem is most likely nothing a more frequent cleaning can’t fix. Check out this professional cleaner’s advice on how to sanitize your TV remote. As for hotels…well, you might just want to avoid touching the remote altogether.

Here are some more items in your home you should be washing way more often.

[Sources: Networx, Reuters, Empire]

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Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a word nerd who has been writing for since 2017. You can find her byline on pieces about grammar, fun facts, the meanings of various head-scratching words and phrases, and more. Meghan graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2017; her creative nonfiction piece “Anticipation” was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Angles literary magazine.