Protecting Your Smartphones Oleophobic Coating
What Is An Oleophobic Coating?
All modern smartphones such as iPhone and Android have a thin glaze of surface coatings covering their screens called oleophobic coating, which is probably why you haven’t seen it on product pages unless the manufacturer is really reaching for positive features to list about their smartphone.
“Oleophobic” is a word used to describe a type of material, which lacks an affinity to oils, ergo – it keeps fingerprint spots off of a screen surface. The idea to use such a coating entered the world of smartphones with the iPhone 3GS, which was the first phone to be covered with this type of solution.
Oleophobic coating provides a certain amount of smudge resistance to your smartphone’s display; it doesn’t make it fingerprint-proof but keeps the natural grease at bay that accumulates on your fingers, not allowing it to adhere to the glass. This is why a simple clean with a soft cloth will make your smartphone look brand new, without the use of any extra cleaning solutions such as alcohol-based products.
Oleophobic Coatings are deposited on the cover glass using a plasma process called plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. This takes an oleophobic substance and evaporates it within a chamber. This process binds the oleophobic substance to the glass on the surface of mobile phones creating a thin permanent layer. However, it can be removed using the right substances or through the passage of time.
Do Screen Protectors Remove Oleophobic Coating When Being Removed?
Using a screen protector may make the Oleophobic Coating fade while being removed over time but gradually over the years the Oleophobic coating on your touch screen devices will begin to fade anyway.
Turns out when you put on your screen protector and if you’re cleaning your screen with anything but water then you may already be wiping it off. Even if you do use a screen protector it probably isn’t the cause.
Alcohol is one of the top causes of removing this film over screen protectors. Tempered glass that has a plastic film, or a plastic film that is glare resistant, privacy protectors don’t tend to remove your Oleophobic coating either.
That being said, it does depend on the quality of the screen protector as a whole. If you’re using a low-quality screen protector with a cheap adhesive then it may peel off the Oleophobic Coating on your screen when you remove it.
Using a screen protector is the only way you can protect your Oleophobic coating on the glass. Plus if you apply a glass screen protector, it may even have an oleophobic coating.
Will Oleophobic Coating Wear Off?
The oleophobic coating on your device will naturally fade over the course of a year or two or can be removed by using a strong cleaning solution such as alcohol wipes, however, it can also be removed when applying and then removing a glass screen protector.
When you remove a screen protector it also takes off the oleophobic coating too which will lead to the smartphone screen becoming much more prone to grease and finger smudges. This can be countered by just applying another screen protector though.
How Long Does Oleophobic Coating Last?
When you first unbox your new iPhone or Android fresh from the manufacturers, one of the most exciting things is how sleek, smooth and shiny your new screen is. This is because it hasn’t been touched, no scratches or cracks and because of the Oleophobic treatment that comes with it.
From the first day you use your mobile, your Oleophobic coating will start to wear off, this coating won’t last forever sadly, it will last between 6 months to a year with proper care.
Using a good quality screen protector is probably the best way to prolong the life of it.
The oleophobic coating won’t affect the touchscreen on your smartphone, nor how it will feel. You can still easily glide your fingers across the screen with minimal friction, it is also easy to wipe off grease and fingerprints off your phone.
How Can We Protect Oleophobic Coating?
While this oil-repelling coating wears away through ordinary use, there are a few things you can do to help protect it. The most obvious thing you can do is never use a strong, abrasive cleaner, or detergent on the touchscreen.
This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Windex or other window cleaners
- Creme cleansers
- Detergents, like washing powder or dishwashing liquid
- Bleach or other bleach-based cleaning agents
- Cutting agents, like T-Cut, or other polishes
Abrasive cleaners strip away the oleophobic coating on your phone entirely. Some might even harm the screen or leave it streaky or cloudy. Fortunately, there are safe ways you can clean your smartphone and other touchscreen devices.
First, always start by wiping your device with soft, lint-free cleaning cloths. Dampen it with water and remove any visible dirt and grime. This is important because bacteria and other unwanted particles cling to dirt.
Restoring The Oleophobic Coating
To see if you need a fresh coat of oleophobic coating, squeeze a drop of water on your screen to see if the coating is still intact. If it forms a bead, your phone’s oleophobic coating is still working properly. However, if it flattens and rolls down your screen, then you’ll need to give your coating a touch-up.
- Get an oleophobic restoration coat kit online. Shop online for an oleophobic coating kit—these typically aren’t that pricey and cost $20 or less. These kits come with a very small bottle of oleophobic coating that you apply directly to your phone screen.
- Wipe the screen with 70% isopropyl alcohol and dry it off. Grab an isopropyl alcohol wipe and clean off the front of your screen. Clean off the entire screen, so it’s nice and clean before you add the coating. Then, grab a microfiber cloth and dry off any leftover moisture. If you don’t have alcoholic wipes on hand, dab a microfiber cloth in 70% isopropyl alcohol and clean off the screen.
- Cover your pointer finger with a plastic baggie so you don’t touch the screen. Stick your finger into the corner of a plastic sandwich bag. This will help you apply the oleophobic coating without getting your fingerprint smudges all over the screen. Oleophobic compound evaporates quickly, so you need to be quick to wipe it onto your screen.
- Squeeze 10-15 drops of oleophobic coating over the screen. Get the oleophobic coating from an at-home kit. This usually comes in a small bottle. Drip at least 10 drops of the product all over your device screen, so you can apply an even coating. The oleophobic coating kit can be purchased online.
- Spread the coating all over your screen with your finger. Smear the product into the glass. Be gentle, don’t push hard, instead use a gentle wiping motion and create an even coating as you go.
- Wait 8-12 hours for the coating to set in. Set your device in a clean, open area where it can dry undisturbed for at least 8 hours.If there’s any leftover oleophobic product is sitting on the screen, brush it off with a microfiber cloth.
- (Optional) Apply the coating 2-3 more times to finish restoring it. Apply 10 more drops of coating, working them into the screen with some form of plastic covering your fingers. Let the product cure again for at least a few more hours. This should really give the coating a boost and ensure it doesn’t fade as quickly.
- Dust off your device screen as-needed with water and a lint-free cloth. Lightly dampen a clean, lint-free cloth then wipe the screen as needed to clear away any dirt.
- Clean your phone with alcoholic-based products if you need to disinfect it. Grab a 70% isopropyl alcoholic wipe and clean your device screen. This method is officially recommended by Apple, but will also work on similar Android models such as a Samsung Galaxy and other mobile phones.
- Don’t use abrasive cleaners on your screen to prevent damage. Never clean your device with harsh chemicals like bleach, dish soap, polish, or glass cleaner. These could potentially cause a great deal of harm to the oleophobic coating.
Does Water Damage Oleophobic Coating?
When cleaning your phone’s glass display it’s important to know which products to use. Water is actually the best thing to use when cleaning it and will ensure the oleophobic coating stays intact.
The comment earlier about testing for oleophobic coatings and whether it’s starting to fade is an effective way to test for any lasting effects on your phone display. If the water spreads around the display after you place a drop on it then the coating is no longer protecting the surface.
If you want to worry a little less about fingerprints, grease, and scratches then you can invest in a glass screen protector. This is a sure-fire way to prevent any of those nasty smudges to your device and they can be cleaned with a wider variety of treatment options. It’s also a good idea because they tend to be much more effective at combatting fingerprints etc. and in the long run they tend to be more cost-effective than purchasing an oleophobic coat kit.
Cleaning Your Smartphone
To disinfect your smartphone, use an alcohol-based cleaning solution that contains a minimum of 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent isopropanol. Manufacturers like Apple recommend you use 70 percent isopropyl alcoholic wipes to clean iPhones, iPads, and other devices. You can apply the same instructions to modern Android phones made of similar materials.
Keep in mind that cleaning the screen this way will accelerate the rate of wear on the oleophobic coating. However, it’s sometimes necessary to sanitize your phone or tablet this way because the average person will touch it hundreds of times per day which leads to a mass build-up of all kinds of bacteria. This is especially important if you hold your phone against your face during calls.
If you want to restore the touch screen to a like-new state, you can use some aftermarket products to do so.