If you’re planning to buy a surface acoustic wave (SAW) touchscreen, you’ll need to keep it clean. All touchscreens will inevitably accumulate dust and dirt on their top layer. While surface contaminants may have little or no effect on capacitive touchscreens, though, they can prevent SAW touchscreens from recognizing touch commands. How do surface contaminants affect SAW touchscreens exactly?

SAW Touchscreens Explained

To better understand how surface contaminants affect SAW touchscreens, you must familiarize yourself with this alternative touchscreen technology. SAW is a touchscreen technology that involves the use of ultrasonic waves to detect touch commands.

During use, it projects ultrasonic waves across the top layer, which it measures using corresponding sensors. Performing a touch command will disrupt the ultrasonic waves. The SAW touchscreen will notice this disruption, at which point it will register a touch command in the area where the disruption occurred.

Surface Contaminants May Disrupt Ultrasonic Waves

Failure to regularly clean a SAW touchscreen may result in problems such as false commands. As dust and dirt accumulate on the surface, it may interfere with the SAW touchscreen’s ability to recognize touch commands. Surface contaminants can create the perception of a finger or stylus. They will disrupt the SAW touchscreen’s ultrasonic waves so that it’s unable to recognize true touch commands.

Your SAW touchscreen may trigger false commands due to surface contaminants, or it may fail to recognize your touch commands. Regardless, surface contaminants are a concern with SAW touchscreens. SAW touchscreens require a clean surface. When dust and dirt go unchecked on the surface, they may not work as intended.

Like most other touchscreens, you can clean a SAW touchscreen using a lint-free microfiber cloth. You don’t need to use any special cleaning products. Rather, you can clean a SAW touchscreen by wiping it down with a lint-free microfiber cloth. SAW touchscreens are already designed with an oil-wicking oleophobic layer on the surface. Using a lint-free microfiber cloth, you can quickly clean them.

What About Capacitive and Resistive Touchscreens?

Capacitive and resistive touchscreens are better protected against surface contaminants. You should still try to keep them clean. Nonetheless, dust and dirt shouldn’t interfere with their ability to detect touch commands.

Capacitive touchscreens detect touch commands by measuring changes in capacitance. Resistive touchscreens detect touch commands via pressure. Regardless, neither of these technologies relies on ultrasonic waves, so they are better protected against dust and debris.