How to quickly and safely clean the iPhone, iPad, or anything else with a screen

Is the screen on your iPhone or iPad (or whatever device you happen to be using) caked with grease, earprints, fingerprints and muck? Here's how you can return your screen to the condition it was when you first laid eyes on it.

One of the most annoying things about touchscreen devices is that the screen becomes caked with fingerprints, grease, dirt, earprints, and other assorted muck. Even devices that you don't touch – like notebooks, desktop monitors, and TVs – screens can still get covered in assorted debris.

Given that I spend a great deal of my time both looking at and using devices that have screens, I've put a lot of thought into coming up with the best possible way to keep screens clean. This has ranged from hurring on them and wiping them across a t-shirt, to using strange and wacky cleaning devices that promise a perfect finish.

Some do a pretty good job, others leave the screen in a worse condition than when you started.

My screen cleaning regime involves three products, and the beauty of it is that it allows me to clean all my screens (from my iPhone to my flat-screen TV) and also the optics on camera lenses and binoculars. It takes a lot more patience to clean a flat-screen TV than it does and iPhone, so I suggest you start small and practice before taking on a big job.

The three products are:

  • ROR Residual Oil Remover – A liquid that comes in either a bottle with a dropper applicator or a spray. Since you need less than you think you do the dropper might be better than the spray to start out with.
  • Pec*Pads – These are lint-free, ultra-soft non-abrasive wipes. They come in a few different sizes but I find the 4-inch by 4-inch to be the best.
  • Selvyt polishing cloths – Go for the universal polishing cloth as opposed to the microfiber because it has better absorption qualities. You can use other brands of polishing cloths (as long as they aren't impregnated with anything) but this is the best one I've come across.

Now it's time to get to work.

Apply a drop or two of ROR to a Pec*Pad and use this to remove the oil and grease. Apply less ROR than you think you need – don't soak the cloth and don’t apply it direct to the screen in case it makes its way inside the device. Work in a circular pattern.

If there's a lot of muck on the screen give it multiple passes with the ROR and Pec*Pad.

Then, once you're satisfied that the grease and fingerprints are off, finish off the job with the polishing cloth, again working in circular pattern until you've gone over the whole screen.

If you find a patch of stubborn dirt, or find yourself hitting another grease slick, go back to the ROR and Pec*Pad.

Some tips for a good finish:

  • Brush or blow off any sand or other abrasives that might be on the screen as these might cause scratches.
  • Take off any case you might have on the device as they will prevent you from getting in to the edges.
  • Less is more. A couple of drops of ROR on a Pec*Pad should be all you need for something the size of an iPad (unless it's cakes with filth).
  • Work methodically. I find it best to start in one corner, but others like to start in the middle.
  • Clean your screens regularly.
  • Don't rush!