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I tested the $15 screen-cleaning solution used in Apple stores and it worked like magic

From laptops and computers to smartphones, tablets, and TVs, Whoosh's cleaning kit may be the best one I've tested so far.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
WHOOSH! Screen Cleaner Spray and Wipe

The Whoosh kit comes with everything you need to clean your screen.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Whoosh 3.4 fl oz cleaning spray and cloth kit is available on Amazon for $15.
  • In my experience, it's the best kit for cleaning displays, large or small. 
  • Some users report concerns that the cloth could scratch displays, but I did not experience this in my testing.

We're surrounded by screens. Some sit in one place, collecting dust and grime, while others get touched and pawed at frequently, accumulating oils from our skin and anything else hitching a ride on our fingers. For me personally, a dirty screen is a major distraction, as my eyes are inevitably drawn to discrepancies.

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The problem is, wiping down screens with most cloths just ends up leaving streaks and smears. I've tried numerous methods, from proprietary wipes to specialized cleaning cloths, and some have provided passable results, but none have felt quick and easy. Until now.

A few weeks ago, a reader recommended a product called Whoosh, claiming that "this is the stuff that Apple uses." After consulting a few acquaintances who work at Apple stores, it appears that while they indeed have used Whoosh, its adoption isn't universal. Whether Apple uses it or not isn't my concern. What matters to me is how effective it is.

View at Amazon

I chose Whoosh's 3.4 fl oz screen cleaner spray with microfiber cloth. There are bigger and smaller kits, but the medium-sized one seemed a good place to start.

The spray bottle holds a milky liquid that is odorless and non-toxic, and according to the packaging doesn't contain alcohol or ammonia. I checked out the US MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheet) and EU REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) data sheets, which confirm the claims on the packaging, but do not shed light on the ingredients, which the MSDS lists as a "trade secret."  

The solution is a trade secret.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Along with the spray bottle, the kit comes with a microfiber cloth and instructions that give an overview of how to clean your screens. The instructions are quite comprehensive, so I recommend you read them.

The cloth is double-sided -- one side is a textured cleaning side, the other is the drying and polishing side. As microfiber cloths go, it's excellent quality, and doesn't shed fibers.

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I've also read some concerns online about the label on the cloth being abrasive and able to scratch displays. Personally, I doubt it, but if you're worried, just cut the label from the cloth.

High-quality, double-sided microfiber cloth.

High-quality, double-sided microfiber cloth.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Here are a few more general tips:

  • Don't spray the liquid directly onto the display -- spray it onto the cloth. 
  • If there is an abrasive material on the screen -- such as sand -- use a soft brush to remove it.
  • Work slowly and methodically.
  • Don't use your fingernail to remove stubborn dirt -- put some spray on the cloth, apply the damp patch of cloth to the stubborn spot, and wait 10 seconds for the cleaner to loosen it up.
  • Store the cloth in the bag so it doesn't pick up dirt.
  • Wash the cloth regularly so it retains its microfiber magic.

I've tested this on smartphones (with and without screen protectors), tablets, laptops displays, and TVs, and was blown away by how well it worked at keeping displays clean. The winning combination here is the cleaning formula that cuts through grease and grime, and the quality microfiber cloth that effortlessly lifts this dirt off the display.

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You can also use the solution to clean devices in general, not just the screen. Just apply a few sprays on the cloth and give the gadget a good wipe.

ZDNET's buying advice

My advice is simple -- buy a kit! Once you see your clean, streak-free screen, you won't regret it. I'm so impressed that I'll be picking up a 16.9 fl oz spray bottle and a 12-pack of microfiber cloths.

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