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OtterBox creates an antimicrobial screen protector for your nasty phone

The EPA-registered screen protector is designed to kill 99.9% of bacteria from the surface of your phone.

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New screen protectors from OtterBox and Corning will have EPA-registered antimicrobial technology infused into the glass.

OtterBox
This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

Our phones come with us everywhere... including, let's be real, the bathroom. Which means it isn't a surprise that the average smartphone is actually dirtier than a toilet seat. But new screen protectors from OtterBox and Corning unveiled at CES 2020 in Las Vegas have EPA-registered antimicrobial technology infused into the glass, to keep bacteria from taking over your texting. 

The protective screens will kill 99.9% of surface bacteria, an OtterBox spokesperson told CNET. The glass is treated with silver ions, the substance that provides the antimicrobial protection. It's the only EPA-registered glass protector on the market, the spokesperson said. The screens are lightweight and look like others on the market from OtterBox and Corning. 

At CES, OtterBox offered to test my personal phone screen for germs by taking a swab of its surface and giving it an ATP test, which measures actively growing microorganisms. I had just wiped it down the day before, and was feeling good about my odds of a sparkling-clean surface.

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My confidence was misplaced. My phone screen immediately failed the test, with a score of 469 RLU. For context, a score of under 100 RLU is considered passing. The pass limit for a hospital operating room is 100, while that for a patient room is 250. 

The bacteria-fighting screen protectors will go on sale in the first quarter of this year, for $50 -- the same cost as OtterBox's standard Amplify glass. From now on, all standard Amplify glass will have the antimicrobial technology, the company said.