How clean is your child’s iPad and how should you keep it clean? Have you ever disinfected their iPad or tablet? Everyone has heard how bacteria ridden and dirty cell phones get with use, but what about the devices that our children tow around? Newsweek recently wrote about 5 top things that are dirtier than toilets; those are cell phones, tablets, kitchen sponges, cutting boards and toothbrush holders. Yuck.
Our kiddos get into everything! They are busy, curious and innovative. We all know how many places those little hands go, and that’s why we have them wash their hands after they use the bathroom and before they sit down to snacks or meals. Many of us are not in this hand washing habit when it comes to iPad or tablet use, we just don’t think about it. These devices could very possibly have surfaces filled with millions of germs and bacteria; depending on how often you clean and use them. We wash our kids hands a ton each day, but what about those devices such as iPads, tablets and laptops?
Here is another thought; does your child share their tablet with anyone else? Do they let their friends play for a bit or go back and forth? Where is the tablet stored? Does it often end up on the ground, on the floor of the car, or does it maybe go to the bathroom? Perhaps it came to the hospital visit to help with the wait time or went to the office because mom and dad had to work late. Of course, the tablet also traveled to the restaurant with you so that you could potentially have some silence. Each one of these scenarios is a possibility for more germs, billions of them. Now we are not trying to be germaphobes here, but trying to educate and spread awareness and facts as many of us parents don’t think twice about having yet another thing to clean regularly.
Many studies show that tablets harbor more bacteria than toilets. In one study, British researcher found that handheld devices carry 18 times more bacteria than a flush handle in a men’s room. That’s pretty gross and scary at the same time. For viruses that have taken up residence on tablet screens, a single touch can easily transfer them to your fingertips, which then pass the viruses to your eyes, mouth, or nose. Hello, flu! This isn’t something new; the New York Daily News swabbed four iPads in NYC Apple Stores, and lab results found Staphylococcus aureus (a common source of staph infections), Candida parapsilosis (a yeast), and Corynebacterium minutissimum (a common source of skin rashes). There are just so many people handing Apple devices at the stores in a typical day that it’s almost impossible for them to not pick up bacteria of some sort.
What is the best way to clean a child’s iPad? And, even more importantly, what’s the best way to keep it clean and minimize the amount of germs and bacteria which can cause a variety of viruses and illnesses? Scroll to the bottom when you’re done reading for extra information.
To prepare the tablet for cleaning, unplug it and remove it from its protective case. Use a soft dry, preferably microfiber, cloth to clean off most of the smudges and fingerprints. Ensure that this cloth is lint free and chemical free, as any sort of chemicals or alcohol can damage the screen. You can also use a slightly dampened cloth to get any smudges or sticky messes off the surface. Please make sure that the tablet is unplugged before you do this. What you want to avoid is allowing moisture to enter the inside of the tablet. Also, no household cleaners or alcohol premoistened cloths/wipes, EVER. These can severely degrade the oleophobic coating that keeps the screen from absorbing oil from your fingers. Things that will definitely damage this coating are window or household cleaners, aerosol sprays, solvents, alcohol, ammonia or abrasives. If you notice any visible dirt or particles, try to remove them first before cleaning the screen with a cloth so as to prevent possible scratching.
There are certain cleaning sprays or moistened cleaner pads that are made specifically to clean screens and available to purchase, so if you feel that you must use a liquid or just something more moist, look for one of these items. Always remember that moisture in any iPad opening equals disaster! If you’re trying to truly disinfect the iPad or tablet, see some of our link suggestions at the bottom.
We figured out how to keep our kids screens clean of smudges but how do we sanitize them and keep them as free of germs as possible? According to a recent study, the average handheld device carries 18 times more potentially harmful germs than found in bathrooms. Now that is something to think about when you hand your child a tablet. So for serious sanitizing you may want to invest in antibacterial wipes or sprays that are specifically designed for tablet/phone/computer surfaces. Never apply any liquid directly to the screen surface. Dampen your cloth with it and then clean; dry off with a dry cloth. Also, don’t forget to properly clean the case, which is probably handled and touch as much as the screen.
The next best method is to ask your kids AND their friends to wash their hands before they use the tablet. This will prevent much of what we are trying to avoid and will teach your kiddos good habits for the future. Inform your children or students that if they’d like to use the device, hand washing is part of the process of doing so. Otherwise, you will hide that charger! Make sure they dry their hands well after and also to avoid any eating or drinking around it too. Make sure you store the device in a clean safe spot that is no exposed to traffic when not in use, such as a covered basket or tote.
Here are some additional shocking reads, whether you want to get more information on germs and bacteria on everyday items or you need to convince someone of how much of it gathers:
How to clean and disinfect your iPad screen: