Wearable technology is a rapidly expanding and innovative industry, with ever more complex technological functions becoming available in wearable packages for the consumer to enjoy on a day-to-day basis. These products are marketed on the basis of their practicality and utility of design, but are these new ideas practical in terms of cleanliness – and while most of use know how to clean a laptop screen, are those of us investing in newer tech doing our bit to keep our gadgets in shape?
How to clean wearable fitness tech
Fitness tech, including heart-rate monitors, music players, and portable GPS – is becoming more and more affordable, but many units come with their setbacks. A heart rate unit strapped around your chest will quickly accumulate sweat and grime, and if the design has been poorly thought out, any nooks and crannies can become breeding grounds for germs and smells.
Sweat – loaded with corrosive salts – is the main concern when it comes to maintaining wearable fitness tech, and while we wait for new products which will actively make the most of this bodily function it's a good idea to keep your current devices clean. Even “waterproof” materials such as neoprene can absorb sweat and dirt over time, becoming increasingly odorous and developing white stains.
If your sports tech has a fabric casing which can be detached from the electronic component, consider making it routine to do so after big workouts, and soak it overnight in a solution of warm water and mild washing detergent. Rinse it through in hot water the next morning, and dry thoroughly before use – you want to kill the bacteria causing the smell, so a thorough approach is essential.
How to clean smart watches, phones, and glasses
Like mobile phones, most wearable gadgets (including smart watches and glasses) feature ports for charging and data transfer, and like mobile phones, these ports accumulate dirt. Pocket lint can be blown out with a can of pressurised air, but what about sticky layers of grit from sweat and dead skin? A very small amount of isopropyl alcohol on a cotton bud may be the answer you're looking for – get those prongs clean and shiny to restore your device's capabilities.
Sweat, oil, and other substances from your skin have a tendency to find their way onto screens too. As of January last year, wildly popular Gorilla Glass by Corning (as seen on iPhone and more) possesses antimicrobial properties by way of ionized silver particles within the fabric of the screen. This is good news in terms of hygiene, but that won't stop an accumulation of dirt. If your wearable tech's screen has a glass cover, it's safe to be a little more rough with your cleaning, but the screens of many current smart watches are LCD, and a little more delicate.
As a rule of thumb, it's best to avoid cleaning a screen whilst the device is switched on – as most of us who know how to clean a laptop screen will already know. Many screens can easily stand up to a little isopropyl alcohol or a damp cloth, but some LCD displays will be irreparably damaged as chemicals and minerals burn into the display. Powering off your device before cleaning is the safe option, and allows you to better see the smudges and crusts of dirt that have hidden away around the edges. For tips on keeping displays in top condition, (including laptops) check out this article on how to clean a laptop screen and other devices.