Screen Cleaning

Our family iPad is used by all our children, from toddler to teens. Is there a proper way to clean it?

photograph © Marcel De Grijs |

A: Technology is often a family affair. And those areas touched by fingers and hands, like computer keyboards, have long posed a cleaning challenge.

Touch screens, however, require a little extra attention. Many electronic devices that use touch-screen technology, including the iPad, use an oleophobic coating on the screen. The name literally means “afraid of or averse to oil.” This makes sense since coating repels the oils left by fingerprints and prevents smudges on the viewing screen.

With normal use, this coating will eventually be rubbed away, however, establishing a few simple rules can extend the life of your device and teach your children some good tech maintenance habits, too.

• Do disconnect the device from electrical outlets and remove cords.

• Don’t use abrasive sponges, paper towels, or anti-bacterial wipes. The same goes for abrasive solvents and bleaches. These can cause scratches and damage the screen.

• Do use a soft, lint-free cloth to clean the screen. In most cases, this will remove grime. For an extra dirty screen, dampen cloth with a very small amount of water. Avoid dripping any water onto the device as it can cause permanent damage.

• Don’t toss the iPad into a tote bag, backpack, stroller, or purse without protecting the screen. Invest in a cover and screen film that provides extra protection.

• Do include your children in the maintenance and care of your device. Require them to wash hands before using it, wipe it down after their turn is over, power it off to preserve batter power, and store it properly when put away.


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