[buffer buzzing loudly]
How can this coating still be on here?
Okay, some back story on
why I did this to a brand new iPhone 8.
You may have heard of this thing called.
– The coronavirus.
– The coronavirus outbreak.
– And that everyone wants to clean off everything with
well, just about anything to protect themselves.
You may have also heard
that you should never, ever, ever use liquid cleaning supplies on your smartphone.
That’s because your smartphone screen
has a protective coating to repel both water and oil.
You may have heard it marketed as the oleophobic coating.
Basically, it minimizes fingerprints and smudges.
You can see the difference here.
The left side of this phone has the oleophobic coating,
the right side doesn’t.
Then I placed a drop of olive oil on each side.
You can see that on the coating side,
the oil droplet quickly repels,
on the side with no coating,
it sticks and has a harder time coming off the screen.
The chemicals and abrasive materials in some cleaning products
can destroy that coating.
In fact, after many years of saying, just use a microfiber cloth,
Apple okayed the use of disinfecting wipes like Clorox and Lysol
and wipes with 70% isopropyl alcohol,
but how many wipes does it take to take off this coating
and what does it look like when the coating’s all gone?
I scrubbed a lot for science.
[playful upbeat music]
Now we’re talking.
I wanted to preserve the oleophobic coating on one side of the screen
so I covered that side with paper and tape
then I began scrubbing the other side with these Clorox disinfecting wipes.
I did 365 wipes.
I figured one scrub a day for a year.
This feels very wasteful.
I did not let it dry for the recommended four minutes
because, well, I have a life.
I really should’ve worn gloves.
I’m super wrinkled,
like I just took a bath in Clorox wipes.
The coating was totally fine.
So I decided to keep wiping for another two years.
Even after 1,095 wipes, the coating appeared intact.
The screen still felt smooth and repelled the oil and water.
So I upped the challenge
using some explicitly banned cleaning supplies.
Is this on right?
I was told that hydrochloric acid found in toilet bowl cleaner
would destroy the coating.
After 10 minutes of scrubbing with it,
it seemed totally fine.
A Magic Eraser, which has abrasives.
Still pretty fine.
I’m doing a lot of squeaking.
Though I only did it for about two minutes.
Nah, but it was fun.
Finally, I decided to go all out.
After two hours in a tub of toilet bowl sauce,
the coating was finally starting to come off.
I topped it off with some soft scrub with bleach and nail polish remover.
We’ve heard acetone is bad for screens,
there’s acetone and nail polish remover.
Finally, as you can see,
the oil on the right side of the screen where the coating had been stripped
began to repel much slower than on the left.
But you don’t have to go to all these lengths to take off the coating.
It turns out that after normal use
the oleophobic coating on any phone will just start to wear.
By the way, the phone worked and turned on perfectly fine
at the end of all of this.
So after all of this, what do you do?
If you’re just looking to clean your phone cosmetically,
get a microfiber cloth
but if you wanna disinfect and kill all the germs,
use a disinfecting wipe.
Heck, use 365 of them.
If you’re still worried
and you don’t like getting your hands wet,
you could try a UV phone sanitizer,
like this $100 PhoneSoap Go
that promises to kill 99% of bacteria and germs.
I did not test that claim myself.
I now resign as the
leading phone cleaning columnist at The Wall Street Journal.
I’m never testing phone cleaning again.