How to clean your iPad, tablet or kindle: get rid of viruses, grime and bacteria

Eliminate viruses and harmful bacteria from your tablet with these simple tips

ipad cleaning
(Image credit: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock)

Objectively speaking, your tablet is probably pretty grim. A study by Northeastern University in Boston found that workplace iPads contained bacteria from skin and faeces, including pathogens such as MRSA, VRE, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. 

Imagine all the touchscreens in public use, such as in cinemas or doctor's check-ins, then you go home and play or work on a tablet which likely gets passed around your whole family. Although the global health crisis means excellent hygiene is more important than ever, cleaning your tablet computer is something you should be doing anyway. 

Viruses can live on surfaces for up to three days, according to professors from Princeton and the University of Los Angeles. If you’re picking up harmful bacteria then sitting down to look up recipes, work or watch YouTube vids on your iPad, it doesn't matter if you wash your hands throughout the day: you're picking up the same bacteria from your tablet all over again. 

There’s no reason to panic and swear off using your tablet all together, but fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to mitigate this. Apple has confirmed you are able to use disinfectant wipes (such as Lysol) with up to 70% isopropyl alcohol content.

Apple said, in a statement: 

"Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces. 

"Don't use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don't submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents. Don't use on fabric or leather surfaces."

iPad Pro 2017

It's been confirmed you can clean a dirty tablet with disinfecting alcohol wipes

(Image credit: Apple)

So what's the best way to go about it? First, unplug and turn off your tablet. Wipe it with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove any dust, grime and smudges.

Next, use an antibacterial multi-purpose wipe to wipe down the large surfaces of the tablet. If the selfish panic-buyers near you have made that impossible, use a couple of squirts of antibacterial spray onto a piece of clean cloth or kitchen paper and wipe the tablet down as normal, avoiding getting any droplets of liquid in the crevices or charging port. You might need to water the spray down to reduce the alcohol content.

You can even create a solution of alcohol and water and either pour it into a spray bottle or dip a cloth directly into the alcohol before wiping down the keyboard. Never spray the tablet directly, or use a cloth dripping with the stuff. For safety, best dilute the solution to below a 50:50 ratio of alcohol and water.

Leave the tablet to air-dry and you’re done. Wash your hands thoroughly to ensure the environment stays clean and you'll be safe in the knowledge your working environment just got a whole lot cleaner. 

If you do this regularly, you’ll keep a clean tablet and reduce the likelihood of harmful bacteria hitching a ride on your hands.

Matt Evans

Matt Evans now works for sister brand TechRadar, covering all things relating to fitness and wellness. He came to as staff writer before moving on, and was previously on Men's Health, and slightly counterintuitively, a website devoted to the consumption of Scotch whiskey. In his free time, he could often be found with his nose in a book until he discovered the Kindle.