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  • (dramatic music)

  • (buffer buzzing loudly)

  • - [Joanna] 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.

  • - 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.

  • (buffer humming)

  • 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.

  • And

  • one.

  • Two.

  • (clicker clicking)

  • 365!

  • 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 results?

  • The coating was totally fine.

  • So I decided to keep wiping for another two years.

  • (clicker clicking)

  • 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.

  • Car buffer?

  • Nah, but it was fun.

  • (buffer humming)

  • 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.

  • Help me!

  • Finally, as you can see, the oil on the right side

  • of the screen were 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.

  • Never.

(dramatic music)

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How to Protect Your Phone From Coronavirus | WSJ

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    Annie Huang   posted on 2020/03/12
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