This tiny gadget is designed to keep your hands clean while running errands

It might come in handy on your next trip to the grocery store.
Hammacher
By Rylee Johnston and Daniel Boan

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We rely on our hands for everything from opening doors to pressing the elevator button. If you're trying to limit your contact with shared surfaces while running essential errands, you may run into some problems when using a keypad to pay for groceries or using the ATM.

As we attempt to reduce our contact with germs, finding useful tools and tricks to prevent the spread of bacteria is important. A new device called the KeySmart CleanKey is starting to generate some buzz online, as it's a tool designed to help keep your hands clear of shared surfaces. The key's pointed edge can be used for touch screens and other similar surfaces, and it also has a handy hook that can help open doors.

We wanted to find out if the popular device is worth the hype, so we spoke with microbiologist and host of the "Super Awesome Science Show" Jason Tetro to get his thoughts on the tool.

"If a person is concerned about touching surfaces, this probably will make for a decent intervention," he told us.

KeySmart CleanKey

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The key is made out of copper alloy, which Tetro says is an effective antimicrobial material.

"So, on the scientific side, the use of copper as an antimicrobial surface is effective as long as it doesn’t get soiled," Tetro told us. "In that context, this is a good item to help prevent contamination and eventual spread to the hands."

However, Tetro does note that it can take several minutes for copper to eliminate bacteria, and it can take hours to inactivate viruses. With this in mind, it is important to make sure you are limiting contact between the device and other surfaces on your person before you are able to properly clean it. To clean the key, the brand recommends using steel wool or a disinfectant wipe.

Though Tetro thinks the device could come in handy for some, he admits that he'll probably stick to old-fashioned hand sanitizer.

"Is it needed? I prefer to use hand sanitizer myself, but I admit that I am using up a product whereas using this key does not require consumption at all," he said.

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