Are you looking after your screens properly? Tayla Ansell considers the case for using dedicated screen cleaning products
Today there are more screens than ever in our homes and offices, from PCs and laptops to tablets and smartphones, all of which require – but rarely get – regular cleaning.
A dirty, smeared screen impairs the viewing experience, potentially leading to eyestrain and headaches, and can harbour thousands of germs and bacteria. Research from the University of Arizona shows that touchscreens in particular are a source of microbes, including MRSA and E.Coli.
Ric Stevenson, product and marketing manager at Techlink, one of the world’s largest suppliers of dedicated smart device, computer and TV cleaning products, says that this is driving growing demand for antibacterial cleaning solutions.
“Using antibacterial cleaners on products that are shared or borrowed, such as smartphones, tablets and keyboards, could dramatically reduce germ transmission,” he said.
“In the playground, for example, where sharing smart devices is common, one greasy teenage face print or figer-mark or spittle on the screen can incorporate thousands of germs and bacteria for the next user to pick up. Antibacterial cleaners dramatically reduce the chance of passing germs and bacteria between users at home, at school, or in the office.”
What to use
With the wide range of screen cleaners available, it can be diffiult to know what product to use. Some companies offer ‘all-in-one’ solutions designed for use on most screens, while others recommend individual products optimised for specific screen materials.
Stevenson highlights the importance of choosing the right cleaner for the job – and always reading the label: “There’s a wide range of screen materials on the market, from ‘Gorilla’ and ‘Sapphire’ glass on smartphones and tablets to plastic screens on laptops and LCD TVs. There is also a wide range of plastic screen types. A matt-fiish LCD TV screen requires a different cleaning agent to a high-gloss touchscreen on a laptop, for example, so it is essential to choose the right cleaner for the job.
“The reasons are two-fold. Cleaners that are designed for a specifi surface will clean better and leave a better finish – smear-free, antibacterial or anti-static – than a generic cleaner or one made for a different surface. Secondly, using the wrong cleaner can potentially damage the surface being cleaned. For example, many consumers do not realise that using strong alcohol-based cleaners on plastic screens can degrade the surface and make the screen look misty over time.
“Moreover, while screens on tablets, like the latest iPad series, are made from glass, they are actually coated with a thin layer of material to improve touchsensitivity and reduce glare. This surface is easily damaged and, over time, can even be removed completely by cleaners that state they are safe to use on glass screens.”
It’s not only the cleaner that’s important; you also need to use an appropriate cloth, as the wrong one can push particles around and scratch the surface of a screen.
A number of Techlink products come with a fie-weave microfire cloth, with some subtle changes to weave density and/or cleaning pad finish depending on the product’s intended use. Microfire cloths are popular because they lift dust and dirt from the surface and draw particles into their fires, ensuring they are removed rather than simply moved around.