Do not clean your smartphone with a cloth for cleaning your glasses!

Tips for smartphone care photo: getty images

By adrian muhlroth | 22. January 2022, 21:47

Many people use eyeglass cleaning cloths to care for their smartphones, not realizing that this can damage the screen in the long run. TECHBOOK shows you how to do it right.

On many eyeglass cleaning and wiping cloths you read that you should not use them to clean the smartphone display. The explanation for this is simple: the wet wipes contain isopropyl alcohol, which is the "oleophobic" can attack the coating of the display. Some manufacturers, such as apple, usually advise against cleaning the screen with alcohol-based solvents. Even common household remedies such as vinegar should be avoided at all costs, as they are too aggressive for the thin coating. Only in exceptional situations, such as the one we are currently experiencing with the corona pandemic, can the use of stronger disinfectants be necessary.

What is an "oleophobic"? coatingat all?

Almost every smartphone user is annoyed by unsightly fingerprints on the screen. But what most people don’t know is that it could be much worse than that. Smartphone displays have what is known as "oleophobic" properties – so-oil repellent coating, which ensures that not every stain sticks immediately. Fingerprints, after all, are no different than grease stains caused by sebaceous glands in our fingers. This won’t completely prevent fingerprints, but they can be wiped off much more easily than from a normal glass surface. Try wiping a fingerprint off your window pane with a bare cloth – it’s easy! the greasy fingerprint only spreads further on the glass.

the oleophobic coating also has another advantage: it gives the glass a slightly slippery and soft feel when touched. That’s why new smartphones are often much more slippery than those that have been in use for some time. This is because the coating wears off over time a process that depends on many factors, such as the quality of the coating and the acidity of the fingertalk. Normally, however, the coating should last well over two years, unless it is exposed to the wrong treatment.

alcohol is bad for smartphones

damp cleaning cloths, many cleaning products and some cleaners that are explicitly labeled as "suitable for smartphone displays" advertised contribute to the acceleration of the wear and tear process. It is all the more surprising that many supposed advisors still recommend eyeglass cleaning cloths and water-alcohol mixtures as a secret tip for gentle smartphone cleaning. I can only advise against this and recommend a soft microfiber cloth instead, if you want to clean the display as gently as possible. Water-based solvents, which contain mainly water but also aggressive substances such as acetic acid and alcohol, are also generally not recommended. However, these solvents are much less harmful to the display and can be used in extreme cases. To treat the screen gently, apply the water-based solvent to the wipe beforehand instead of spraying it directly onto the screen.

How to clean your smartphone properly

In most cases, a microfiber cloth is sufficient to get the smartphone clean again. Unlike a paper towel, which can leave scratches on the surface, a microfiber cloth leaves no marks thanks to its fine fibers. Moreover, the microfibers absorb grease and dust better.

Other items can also be cleaned with microfiber cloths, including eyeglasses, PC monitors, and televisions. Often glasses come with such a cloth from the optician, you can then also use this for your smartphone.

It’s best to turn off the screen, so you can better see dirt on the glass. If necessary, moisten the cloth a little, but only with pure water, no additives such as soap or the like. Wipe the screen vertically or horizontally in even hand movements to achieve a flawless result. After wiping, clean the microfiber cloth so that no dust grains or other dirt are trapped that could leave scratches the next time you wipe your smartphone. Simply rinse the cloth thoroughly in a mixture of warm water and soap and then allow to air dry. Ready.

Did I break my screen with a glasses cleaning cloth?

If you have already cleaned your smartphone a few times with an alcohol- or acid-based wipe, don’t worry. The oleophobic coating can withstand this treatment for a while it should just not become a habit.

You still want to use the practical damp wipes for smartphone cleaning? There is also a solution for this: display protection films made of plastic or tempered glass.

The protective films can be easily changed. They come with their own coating. They also have the nice side effect of protecting the screen from scratches and in some cases even cracks. Since protective films have to be changed more frequently anyway, you can simply wipe them off with a lens cleaning cloth without having to worry about the long-term consequences problem solved.

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