How Household Cleaners Can Damage Your iPhone's Screen

How Household Cleaners Can Damage Your iPhone's Screen

Taryn Williford
Oct 12, 2011

OK, I'll admit it. I always grab for the Clorox wipes when my iPhone's screen gets a little smudgy. But not anymore. It turns out many household cleaners—like cleaning wipes, window cleaner and isopropyl alcohol—are really bad for your iPhone's & iPad's screens due to a protective coating that Apple uses to cover its portable devices' screens.

In yet another "Apple's thought of everything" move, most of their portable devices are coated with an oil-repelling oleophobic coating. It's there just to resist your fingerprints, and it's built into most of Apple's recent portable devices, including the iPad and every generation of iPhone since the 3GS.

Apple devices' oleophobic coating wears down over time—the reason you might notice your 2-year old 3GS showing more streaks now than it did in its younger days. But you could be accelerating the normal wear-and-tear by subjecting your screen to harsh household cleaners.

We've previously featured a reader comment about how isopropyl alcohol, while being a super hero for cleaning most filthy tech pieces, is a no-no solution for the new breed of coated screens. But what about window cleaner? Clorox wipes? The all-powerful Magic Eraser?

They're all no-gos if you want to keep from damaging your screen. The best bet? Wipe your powered-off screen with distilled water (tap water is packed with microscopic minerals that may add scratches to your screen) on a soft cloth—just like the one your iPhone or iPad was packaged with. (So that's what those are for? Brilliant!)

(Images: Flickr member benjgibbs licensed for use under Creative Commons, Advice About Cleaning the Newer Tech Screens)

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