1. https://appdevelopermagazine.com/mobile-tech
  2. https://appdevelopermagazine.com/dirtiest-tech-devices-in-the-us-survey-results/
6/11/2024 8:01:11 AM
Dirtiest tech devices in the US survey results
Tech cleanliness,Survey results,State Tech Habits,Device dirtiness,Secure data recovery
App Developer Magazine
Dirtiest tech devices in the US survey results

Mobile Tech

Dirtiest tech devices in the US survey results

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Richard Harris Richard Harris

A survey by Secure Data Recovery identified the states with the cleanest and dirtiest tech devices. South Carolina, West Virginia, and Louisiana have the cleanest, while Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Virginia have the dirtiest. Key findings show Americans clean keyboards most often and many feel uncomfortable touching dirty tech.

Technology is all around us every day. From the smartphones in our hands and smartwatches on our wrists to the laptops we work on and the headphones we wear, there are plenty of devices to keep up with. While it is important to ensure you install the latest updates and watch out for sketchy websites, it is just as important to keep your devices clean.

The states with the dirtiest tech devices survey: Despite smudgy fingerprints, smartphones are the cleanest tech device

Keeping technology clean does not just involve a dust rag, however, as some devices get dirtier than others, both inside and out. While the team at Secure Data Recovery is prepared to help you recover lost data, it is best to remain proactive in keeping your devices secure.

As Americans across the country clean out their closets and deep clean their shelves for spring cleaning, our team set out to learn about tech cleaning habits across the U.S.

We surveyed Americans all across the country asking a variety of questions regarding their routines. We asked everything from how often they clean different devices, how in-depth their cleaning goes, how they view other people’s dirty devices, and more. Using these responses, we created a tech cleanliness score and ranked states and cities to show where residents have the cleanest and dirtiest devices. Read on to see how your state ranked.

Key takeaways

  • Residents in South Carolina, West Virginia, and Louisiana have the cleanest tech devices.
  • Residents in Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Virginia have the dirtiest tech devices.
  • TVs and headphones are the least likely tech devices to have been cleaned recently by Americans.
  • Americans are most likely to deep clean their keyboards over any other tech device.
  • Nearly 2 in 5 Americans rid their devices of old files at least once a month.
  • Nearly 3 in 5 Americans say they have felt the "ick" touching someone else's dirty device.
  • Of those who scroll on their phone in the restroom, 46% don’t consider their phone to be dirty after.



Where Americans have the cleaniest and dirtiest tech devices

Where Americans have the cleaniest and dirtiest tech devices

Be honest, do you clean your tech devices as much as you should? If not, you’re not alone. Sometimes you just don’t know which cleaning agents are safe to use, but other times you may not notice visible dirt on the device. Either case keeps many people from cleansing their tech.

Regardless of the devices you own, from smartphones and smartwatches to video game controllers and tablets, keeping your tech clean both inside and out helps to keep things running smoothly.

Coming in first place with the cleanest devices is South Carolina with a cleanliness score of 97.31 out of 100. Residents of the state are the most likely to have cleaned their devices in the past 90 days. Across all devices, smartphones and keyboards top the list as the most recently cleaned devices in the state.

In second place with a score of 96.27 is West Virginia where residents are the most likely in the country to deep clean their tech devices. Further south in third place is Louisiana (94.83), followed closely by Texas (94.31) in fourth.

While regular cleaning improves the appearance of the device, cleansing your tech can actually help to extend the life of it as well. According to experts, dust and dirt buildup on devices can cause them to overheat and experience hardware issues, which could potentially result in data loss. If you have experienced this issue, the team at Secure Data Recovery is here to help. Our trained experts have set the standard for hard drive data recovery and maintain a 96% success rate.

There is more to cleaning than simply taking a cloth to your device, however, as internal cleaning is just as important for your device’s health. Clearing cookies, deleting old files to increase space, and ridding your device of unused apps and programs can also help to improve the functionality of your technology.

When it comes to deleting cookies, Florida and Ohio residents are the most likely to clear their devices at least once a week. Wisconsin and Missouri residents are the most likely to find time each week to delete old files from their devices. And keeping with the internal cleanliness efforts, Florida residents are also the most likely to get rid of unused apps alongside South Carolina residents.

Outside of the general dirt that can make its way onto your tech, the ways or places you use the devices can also require them to be cleaned. Overall, 72% of Americans say they scroll on their phone while using the bathroom, but 46% of those people don’t consider their phone dirty after. In addition, our study found that women are more likely than men to consider their phone to be dirty after scrolling while using the restroom.

The US cities with the cleanest and dirtiest tech devices

The U.S. cities with the cleanest and dirtiest tech devices

While South Carolina reigned supreme for the cleanliest tech devices by state, it is Chicago, IL, residents who rank first for the cleanest cities. With a score of 99.52 out of 100, Chicagoans are the most likely to say their devices are not dirty at all.

Next up in second place is Albuquerque, NM, with a tech cleanliness score of 98.49, followed by Las Vegas, NV, with a score of 97.41. Overall, Las Vegas residents are the most likely to have cleaned their smartphones, while Atlanta, GA, residents are the most likely to have recently cleaned their smartwatches.

While it is important to clean the devices you use regularly, it is also important to clean the devices you share. It is common for friends to gather to play video games together or to let one another borrow their headphones, but if those devices are dirty, others are likely to not want to use them.

Overall, nearly 3 in 5 Americans say they have felt “the ick” when touching someone else’s dirty tech devices. In addition, 1 in 10 Americans admit someone has commented on the dirtiness of their tech device.

The technology Americans are most likely to keep clean

The technology Americans are most likely to keep clean

Sometimes the frequency of cleaning our technology depends on how often devices are used. To gain an understanding of how often certain devices are cleaned, we asked respondents which devices they have cleaned within the last 90 days.

Leading the way with 79% of Americans saying they have cleaned them recently are smartphones. For most people cell phones are typically used every day for many hours a day, which could explain the more regular cleaning.

Next up on the list are keyboards with 60% of Americans cleaning them regularly, followed by laptops with 58% of people cleaning them over the past 90 days. On the other hand, video game controllers, headphones, and TVs are the devices Americans are least likely to have cleaned recently.

The level of dirtiness varies from one device to another, so our team asked respondents to describe the various types of “dirt” found on their devices. Americans have shared that fingerprints are the most common visible “dirt” found on their devices.

Dust and oily residue are the next most common reasons Americans find themselves cleaning their devices. Other grime includes hair, from both people and pets, food crumbs, and dirt.

Clean your device, protect your data

Keeping a clean device externally can help with the overall appearance, but keeping a device clean internally can help protect you and your data. Sometimes viruses and malware are unfortunate aspects of technology that can make their way onto your device, but there is no need to live in fear of this. At Secure Data Recovery, we have a team of experts who are trained in data recovery to help you restore lost photos, files, and more.

Since 2007, our team of data recovery specialists have saved billions of files, so whether you are looking for hard drive recovery or data recovery services, we are here to help.


​​In this study, we surveyed Americans in every state and various major cities across the U.S. to determine where people own the cleanest and dirtiest devices. We asked a variety of questions including if respondents cleaned different tech devices in the past 90 days, what elements of "dirtiness" are currently on their devices, how often they clean their devices internally, and more.

Using these responses, we awarded points to answers that represented cleanliness. We then averaged scores of residents in each state and city, and adjusted those scores on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 representing the most clean. We then ranked the states and cities according to these cleanliness scores.

Subscribe to App Developer Magazine

Become a subscriber of App Developer Magazine for just $5.99 a month and take advantage of all these perks.


  • - Exclusive content from leaders in the industry
  • - Q&A articles from industry leaders
  • - Tips and tricks from the most successful developers weekly
  • - Monthly issues, including all 90+ back-issues since 2012
  • - Event discounts and early-bird signups
  • - Gain insight from top achievers in the app store
  • - Learn what tools to use, what SDK's to use, and more

    Subscribe here