E. Coli, Streptococcus, and MRSA. Those are just some of the more serious pathogens found on a smartphone. Not to mention all the grime, dirt, and crud that gets stuck in charging and headphone ports, or in corners and crevices of our daily devices. We constantly wash and clean our bodies and hands, but seldom do we consider the consequences of using our phones in the bathroom and not sanitizing it as we do our hands. 

A cell phone, according to researchers, holds more than 17,000 bacterial gene copies and can have 18x more bacteria than a public restroom. Pretty gross, right? Some have dubbed the smartphone as “the third hand you never wash” because whatever you touch, the phone collects. Luckily, entrepreneurs, techies, and designers are putting forward products to help alleviate this problem in the most convenient way.

Keep it clean

It’s important to understand there are different kinds of ‘dirty’ when it comes to our gadgets. There are the microscopic bacteria that can get us sick, and then there is the physical dust, dirt, and grime stuck in corners. The challenge is addressing both types of issues effectively. While a product like PhoneSoap uses UV-C light to safely kill most of the germs, it does virtually nothing to help you remove the physical crud. Another popular market solution is the classic microfiber cloth with sanitizing spray that is made for use on electronics. This cleaning method often pushes a lot of dirt into the corners and is not applicable to the ports. 

This realization led to the creation of Podwand by ThisCleans. Podwand is designed specifically to completely clean the tough spots of everyday electronics like smartphones, AirPods, and cameras. “I originally designed Podwand for the AirPods, but then the market spoke. If you design a quality product, your market will find you,” says Fam Mirza, Founder of Podwand. Having an easy way to clean increases the longevity of electronic by cleaning earwax, dirt, and dust, and protecting their performance and aesthetics.

Designing for function and impact

The Podwand’s unique features were ideated and designed by Mirza, an award-winning creative director. Mirza is well known for his viral social impact company, 1:Face Watch which he just recently bought back and relaunched to aid in relief efforts to rebuild The Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian. Mirza has a knack for identifying gaps in the market and creating a well-designed solution. If it can help make the world a better place, that’s what he is looking to create and execute on. 

Mirza looks at tech hygiene and the tools needed to maintain clean electronics as a great opportunity to save people time and money. Mirza says, “Having the right tool is essential to getting the job done efficiently. It is also about consistency, even though this is a use-and-throw product, each one works just as perfect as the next.” Podwand is designed with an intricate focus on detail, with materials that resemble micro-fiber and liquid which is safe for the skin and electronics.  With his twelve years of experience in product design, Mirza created Podwand to be a time-saving, affordable tech hygiene tool. 

Mirza aims to see the patent-protected Podwand on the shelves of Hudson News, Target, Circle-K, Wal-Mart, 7-11 and other similar retailers by the end of 2019 now that the utility patent has been granted by the USPTO. With the AirPod market growing at a rapid rate, that’s a lot of earwax and dirt for consumers to clean. Podwand has been described as the “Swiss-Army Knife for Airpods” and it definitely lives up to the name.


  • Peter Salib

    Writer | People Connector | Solutionist

    Peter Salib is a Columnist at Thrive Global, Grit Daily, and several other publications covering events, tech, startups, gadgets, founders, and telling awesome stories. Based in NJ, he is an avid participant of events nationwide who's attended CES in Las Vegas consecutively for the past 8 years and was featured on BoldTV discussing tech trends. Peter currently works for Gadget Flow, a leading product discovery platform reaching 28M consumers every month. He also frequently works with startups on media, content writing, events, and sales. His dog, Scruffy, was a guest product model on the Today Show with Kathy Lee & Hoda and was dubbed "Scruffy the Wonder Dog."