Mobility

Cleaning supplies for your smartphones, tablets, and accessories

Matthew Nawrocki shares some tips for cleaning oils, dirt, and grime from your smartphone and other handheld mobile devices.

As with any device that's handled on a daily basis, the build up of greasy oils, dirt, and grime are an unavoidable fact of life. Being equipped with the tools to combat the grossness is imperative in our quest to maintain sanitary conditions and not look like a bum. Not to mention, if you let someone else borrow your hardware, it's a good idea to prevent germs from being spread around.

Here are a few cleaning products I recommend that will help combat these issues with finesse.

A microfiber cloth

When you need a cleaning solution for wiping off finger prints and smudges that doesn't involve any liquids, perhaps when cleaning fluids could cause a short in your electronics, microfiber cloths are the way to go. MOBiLE CLOTH is where I managed to snag mine, and it works just as advertised. Simply rub the cloth directly on the screen a few times, and the oils and dirt come right off. As an added bonus, for those who like to promote your company in a nifty way, MOBiLE CLOTH offers branded microfiber cloths that you can give out as promotional items to help advertise your business. MOBiLE CLOTH's wares can run you at least $5.00 (USD) per cloth on average, depending on the kit you purchase.

Cleaning fluid

If you prefer to use something to moisten an area before cleaning it, there are various screen cleaning fluids that can get the job done nicely. For me, I tend to go with iKlear Apple Polish. What makes this cleaning agent stand out from others that I have tried in the past is the fact that its proprietary formula does not contain any ammonia or alcohol, which are chemicals that are known to eat away at protective layers of some matte screens. I also get a streak-free shine that really shows nicely upon further inspection. Also, despite what the name of the product might imply, this cleaning liquid is perfectly safe for non-Apple devices. I can assure you that Android and BlackBerry devices won't self-destruct when iKlear is applied on their respective screens. A bottle of this product can run you about $12.00 (USD) online, depending on where you look.

Cleaning compound

Sometimes, I encounter situations where a simple cloth or cleaning spray can't really get the job done properly. An example of this is when I want to clean the dirt out of a Bluetooth keyboard or anything with hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Cyber Clean is excellent for special cases like those. I simply take the green goop out of the plastic container, roll it in my hands for a minute to bring the pH balance up to normal, then directly press and apply the goo to any device. Since it can shape shift like a champ, I'm able to pick up bits of dirt and particles that no normal cloth can reach. I can even use Cyber Clean to remove dust off delicate circuit boards that normally would be susceptible to liquids. When you're done cleaning, you can store the goo in the container it came in for future usage. A 5-oz tub of Cyber Clean can be found at various places online for under $10.00 (USD).

What cleaning products do you use on your smartphones and other handheld mobile devices? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

10 comments
MMSD-C
MMSD-C

I prefer to use a very dilute solution of water with vinegar and a good soft cloth or chamois. This will clean glass and plastic without residue, and without dissolving anything. Mother Ntaure's best cleaner!

GSG
GSG

If you have Gorilla glass on your tablet, there is a light film that allows the fingerprints to wipe off, but this wears off after a while. If you buff out the fingerprints and use eyeglass cleaning fluid on it, then buff with a microfiber cloth, you can then use one or two drops of the ORIGINAL RainX windshield protector on your tablet. Don't use any but the original one. Just put a drop or two on it, and buff with a no-lint microfiber cloth. After that, if it gets all smeared with fingerprints, a good microfiber cloth will wipe them off easily. I usually do that once every 3 months.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Several of my customers print adhesive labels. It's inevitable that, at some point, one of those labels is going to peel itself off the sheet and adhere to whatever surface it happens to be passing and cause jams. Peeling the label out isn't enough, you have to get the glue as well. Water won't do it, nor will most general cleaning solutions. Alcohol will, but lighter fluid is much more efficient and leaves no residue. This is Zippo lighter fluid, by the way, not pressurized butane.

rwbyshe
rwbyshe

This one is specifically formulated for plastics. So your cell phones, laptops, tablets, monitors and tv's are all just fine to clean with this product. It's called Brillianize, plastic cleaner. It's not cheap but it's safe for plastics and is also recommended for chrome, stainless steel, granite, formica, and similar surfaces. Just google: Brillianize, plastic cleaner for best prices. I recommend this product highly!

Matthew G. Davidson
Matthew G. Davidson

Not for screens, but if your accessories, plastic parts of mobile devices, keyboards, etc. need a heavy cleaning this stuff works great!

blatanville
blatanville

Eyeglass cleaner? Residue-free, available everywhere, reasonably priced. That and a microfibre cloth is all I use to clean my Samsung Note I, my Acer Iconia A100, my son's Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7 (which, trust me, gets really crusty), and my wife's iPad 2.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The active ingredient in Goof Off is xylene. Being what it is, xylene will not only remove lots of different types of gunk, but also certain types of plastics...if you use it on one of those, you'll have nothing left but a blob.

Keith Hailey
Keith Hailey

You can get the 2 oz. spray bottle of Lens Cleaner at Wally-World Vision Center and get free refills. Using it with the lens cleansing cloths that they sell has been ideal. I've been using it on Net books, Note books, Life Books, CRT Monitors, Flat panel TVs and Monitors, Smart and not-so-smart Phones, I-gadgets (pads, pods, whatever) PDA's and even my reading glasses with great results. I've also got a natural bristle fingernail type cleaning brush that does a pretty good job on physical keypads. It's soft and doesn't scratch plastic. I use it dry, mostly, but have used a little spray of the lens cleaner a few times. I've been known to use a toothpick or sewing needle when needed. they can be handy for little crud chunks that you can't get to any other way. I've used needles so much over the years I actually bought several fly-tying bodkins (sort of like a needle with a handle) and keep them handy in my different work areas along with all the other micro-electronic piddling tools.

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

Sounds simple enough to get the job done. You can probably buy that stuff in bulk at your local Walmart.

velvetz11
velvetz11

The lens cleaner works great. I use it on the tablet, lap-top and even the cells. How do you get the refills for free? Do you have to purchase glasses in order to get this perk?

Editor's Picks