Disinfectant wipes are OK for users, but not for Apple Geniuses

At the Apple Store I go to for repairs, they use a product called Whoosh!

apple disinfectant wipes whooshFrom Joanna Sterne’s “Yes, You CAN Clean Your iPhone With Disinfecting Wipes” ($) in Monday’s Wall Street Journal:

After years of being told we cannot—and should not—clean our phones with disinfecting wipes, Apple now says you can. My extensive testing over the last few days proves the same.

On Monday, Apple updated its “How to clean your Apple products” website with new wording. Instead of a blanket ban on “cleaning products,” the company says it’s OK to use a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox disinfecting wipes on the surface of your Apple products.

These types of products are recommended by health and infectious-disease experts for stopping the spread of coronavirus on surfaces.

Apple’s website previously said, “Cleaning products and abrasive materials will further diminish the coating and might scratch your iPhone.”

My take: My MacBook Air has been wiped down by Geniuses twice in the past two weeks. The second time I snapped a photo of the product they recommend.

5 Comments

  1. Chris Ferebee said:
    A caution on disinfectant wipes: I’d avoid any that contain benzalkonium chloride, which many do.

    Remember the “Staingate” issue with the 2012–2015 Retina MacBooks Pro? The anti-reflective coating would rub off in patches during normal cleaning, and Apple eventually set up an extended warranty to replace affected screens.

    If you missed the 4-year warranty period, you were out of luck, short of paying for an expensive screen replacement yourself. However, one workaround was to simply remove the entire coating and lose the anti-reflectivity, but also the splotches.

    The parts of the coating that hadn’t already disintegrated turned out to be extremely difficult to remove, but one thing did the trick: disinfectant wipes containing benzalkonium chloride. They would pull off the coating where alcohol and even acetone couldn’t.

    So I’d keep them far away from all my screens, and use plain water or possibly isopropyl alcohol instead.

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    March 10, 2020
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    Thanks PED for denoting the product “Whoosh.” I will investigate the product and may order it for future use.

    Since 2008 I always have used a two ounce bottle filled with 1 ½ oz of professional lens cleaner and ½ oz of 70% isopropyl alcohol first aid antiseptic. I wipe my phones, iPads, iMac with the solution frequently; the iPhone and iPads at least twice daily.

    The professional lens cleaner is supposed to be anti-static, safe for use on glass lenses, plastic lenses or coated lenses. I never have had a problem. It cleans good with a soft cloth. I assume the mixed solution pretty much kills the germs, or at least most all germs.

    Would someone reconcile for me why Apple sends out a message reversing what it for years said not to do? I always felt Apple was being overly conservative as I had been using the above described solutions since 2008 and never had a problem. So, suddenly with the advent of Covid-19 Apple does a 180 degree reversal. Why? It puts Apple in a rather unsavory position from my perspective.

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    March 10, 2020
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    At the Apple Store in Spokane just waisting an hour. They have a dedicated employee doping nothing but continuously wiping surfaces. Don’t know what’s in the bottle.

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    March 10, 2020
  4. John Konopka said:
    I’ve always used iKlear. They had a booth at Macworld.

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    March 10, 2020
  5. Joe Murphy said:
    @Jerry Doyle: “Would someone reconcile for me why Apple sends out a message reversing what it for years said not to do? I always felt Apple was being overly conservative as I had been using the above described solutions since 2008 and never had a problem.”

    I suspect this abrupt change is Apple’s response to the FUD around coronavirus. FUD is rampant, many are desperate and Apple chose to recommend what Apple see as the least harmful route.

    Furthermore, I suspect Apple’s conservative position has been based on knowing that many, likely even the majority of people are not as careful you, resulting in users damaging their Apple products.

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    March 10, 2020

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