scared ipad w magic eraser

I was sitting in a coffee shop the other day, looking all that with my cell phone, iPad, and laptop strewn before me on the table, when I took a break from Pinterest writing and engaged in some therapeutic people-watching. There was the usual over-enthusiastic barista; the elderly first-timers with their “small,” “medium,” and “large” issues; and then there was the mom and young child. I love watching other parents with their kids. I usually come out of the experience feeling reassured that I’m not the only one who’s completely clueless. However, this mom and daughter especially appealed to me because the little girl was playing with an iPad. I was certain an article idea was going to hurl itself at me from across the coffee shop where these two sat. Oh my goodness, did it ever.

The Magic Bullet

Little Sally (name changed to protect the innocent) handed the iPad over to Mom. I almost looked away, disappointed that my spying time was coming to an end; however, my spidey sense started to tingle and was rewarded when Mom reached into her bag, pulled out a Magic Eraser, and used it to wipe down the iPad’s screen.

Okay, confession time: At that very moment on my cell phone, my Pinterest app was up and running. It could not have been more than a few days earlier that I ran across someone’s pin about the million-and-one uses of the Magic Eraser. Of course I had read it, but I did not recall anything about cleaning touchscreens. I wouldn’t have been surprised, though. I mean, the Magic Eraser is awesome and there’s nothing it can’t do. However, my curiosity was piqued, so I did a little digging.

Take it from me, people, when it comes to cleaning your iPad screen, put down the Magic Eraser! Also, don’t even think about reaching for the Windex and paper towels!

Don’t Be Scared of Oleophobia

It is more likely than not that your iPad’s touchscreen has an oleophobic coating. This means it repels oil, very important considering you are swiping, tapping, and dragging your oily fingertips all over it. This coating helps prevent fingerprints from accumulating and obstructing your view, and it also makes it much easier to simply use a dry cloth to wipe them away. In fact, use of most types of liquid cleansers can actually degrade your protective oleophobic coating. It is recommended you use a dry microfiber cloth or non-abrasive material (not paper towels!) to wipe away most of the oils from your fingers.

Now, for those of us with kids, fingerprints are just a walk in the park. Our poor iPads are repelling everything from snot to syrup. Or at least trying to. For those deposits that are resistant to a dry cloth alone, you can try moistening a corner of your cloth with water, wringing it out so it is only damp, wiping the substance away, and then using a dry corner to finish the job. Before approaching your iPad with anything wet, however, please remember to unplug all cables, completely power down, and avoid all openings.

For those older devices that do not have an oleophobic coating, you may find that a damp cloth or cleaning spray is needed to remove some substances. Also, these coatings tend to wear off over time, so if you notice your screen isn’t as easy to clean as it used to be, you can consider it safe to use a cleaning liquid. For the safety of your device, however, use only non-abrasive cleaning liquids. This means no ammonia, alcohol, or bleach, which pretty much means you should keep away from household cleaners, aerosol sprays, or window cleaners. Use cleansers specifically meant for use on electronics, double-checking that they do not contain the above-mentioned chemicals. I did a quick Google search and found many options available from the usual big retailers.

Sorry, Magic Eraser

Back to my Magic Eraser-wielding mom: Little did she know (I’m assuming) that she was essentially using a fine-grade abrasive to wipe down her iPad’s touchscreen. I’d like to thank her, however, for the experience. Not only did I learn something new and get an article topic out of it, I also have the start of my “Million-and-one Disastrous Uses for the Magic Eraser” pin. Trifecta!

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