Whether it’s a smartphone, tablet computer or human machine interface (HMI), all touchscreen devices will develop superficial dirt and debris on the surface. After all, their fundamental design encourages users to touch the interface. And each time you touch the interface, it transports dirt, debris and oil to the device. While small amounts of dirt shouldn’t affect the device’s functionality, excessive amounts may prevent it from properly registering touch commands. This is why it’s important to clean your touchscreen device on a regular basis.

Avoid Using Rubbing Alcohol

Some people assume that rubbing alcohol is an effective cleaning solution for touchscreen devices. Applying rubbing alcohol to your device may help to clean the interface, but it may also damage the protective oleophobic coating. You see, most touchscreen devices feature a transparent layer of oil-resistant liquid over the interface. Known as an oleophobic coating, it’s designed to protect the device from fingerprint smudges by repelling oils. When exposed to rubbing alcohol, however, this protective layer will quickly degrade, leaving your touchscreen device vulnerable. This is why it’s best to avoid using rubbing alcohol or other harsh cleaning chemicals on your touchscreen device.

Prepare the Screen

Prior to cleaning your touchscreen device, you should first prepare the screen. This means removing the screen protector (if present), and changing the device so that the screen is white. Why is a white screen necessary? Well, you can clean your touchscreen device with any colored screen, but white makes it easier to spot the dirt and debris. Try launching a paint or doodle app and set the background color to white. Once white, dirt and debris will be illuminated, allowing you to clean the device more easily.

Wipe It Down

Rather than using rubbing alcohol to clean your touchscreen device, use a dry microfiber cloth. Microfiber is characterized by the use of fine, thin fibers with a diameter of less than ten micrometres. To put that number into perspective, it’s about one-fifth the diameter of a strand of human hair. Because of this, microfiber cloths are gentle and safe for use on a delicate touchscreen device. Just wipe the microfiber cloth across the surface of your touchscreen device to remove any superficial dirt and debris. You may discover that some dirt or debris has hardened onto your device’s screen. If this happens, place the cloth under a little water to make it damp for additional cleaning power.