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Never Use Detergents
The iPhone is rugged but also delicate in some respects. The touch screen, in particular, is sensitive and should never been cleaned with any detergent or cleaning product. Using a detergent or cleaner on an iPhone will eventually damage the screen’s oleophobic coating. You may be tempted to use eyeglass wipes, as they claim to be safe for electronic devices and lenses. They’re not safe for touch screens. Don’t use them.
Normal iPhone Cleaning
Your device should be cleaned regularly to remove the accumulation of natural oils and finger prints. Apple recommends using a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth. The problem with most cloth is that it is somewhat abrasive and will eventually damage the screen coating. Regular cloth also tends to keep dirt on the surface of its fibers. This dust and dirt can act as an abrasive.
The best way to clean your iPhone is with a microfiber cloth. Microfiber is a special material composed of split fibers. These split fibers trap dust and dirt so they don’t scratch the surface that is being cleaned. The top image shows microfiber and the bottom image shows cotton fiber. Notice how the microfiber traps dirt:
Microfiber cloths are sold at optometry practices, as they are often used to clean eyeglasses without scratching them or wearing away anti-reflective coatings. You can also purchase these from online retailers and in some stores. Microfiber cloths are inexpensive and washable.
If you wear eyeglasses, you know why microfiber cloth is better than any ordinary cloth. Cleaning eyeglasses with your shirt or a handkerchief will eventually scratch them. If you use any piece of cloth to clean your iPhone, you could damage the oleophobic coating or touch screen. Eventually this will lead to scratches on the screen. According to Apple: “The ability of this coating to repel oil will diminish over time with normal use, and rubbing the screen with an abrasive material will further diminish its effect and may scratch the glass.”
If you have an iPhone 5S, the Touch ID-enabled home button is also sensitive, which is all the more reason to invest in microfiber cloths. Some users have complained about flaws in Touch ID. For the most part, proper cleaning of the Touch ID surface fixes most issues.
Always clean your device over a soft surface, such as a bed. When you are cleaning your device, it’s easy to let it slip out of your hands. If you are doing this standing up, your iPhone could drop a few feet, perhaps onto a hard floor. A drop like that, even on carpeting, could damage your device. If you clean your iPhone over your bed, accidentally dropping the device won’t result in damage.
Don’t clean your iPhone obsessively. It’s OK to have some fingerprint smudges. If you clean your iPhone constantly, even with a microfiber cloth, it will wear down the oleophobic coating faster. (continue…)