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FIGHT PHONE FILTH

 

INTRO

Itís just as well  you canít see whatís crawling around the mouthpiece of your mobile phone! Weíve been looking at various ways to zap phone bugs -- the sort that move...

 

COPY

Your mobile phone is covered -- inside and out -- with a heaving mass of bacteria, all sorts of unpleasant micro organisms, skin secretions, spittle, a thin layer of greasy slime and an evil brew of airborne contaminants. And youíre about to put it up to your mouth... 

 

If any of the tabloid papers read that we can probably look forward to yet another mobile phone health scare. Nevertheless there is a very good case for keeping your phone clean, especially if itís used by several people. The atmosphere in and around the microphone cavity can be warm and moist, an excellent breeding ground for bacteria in fact. Doubtless a good few colds and sore throats have been spread by phone sharing. You might also be interested to know the agents for several hundred other communicable diseases thrive in such conditions.

 

You could just dunk your phone in a tub of Dettol but weíre fairly sure -- though we havenít actually tried it -- that this would wreak havoc with the microchips inside, not to mention giving it rather strong smell. There are plenty of effective ways to clean your phone -- including most general-purpose household cleaners -- however it seems accessory companies are missing a trick and during the course of the research for this feature we didnít come across any products specifically designed for cleaning mobile phones. Not for much longer weíd guess.

 

Weíve managed to find a range of cleaning products that claim to be suitable for phones, among other things, and weíve identified several others that we reckon could prove quite effective. They fell into four basic categories: moist disposable wipes, blowers, liquids and foams, and dry cleaning cloths. Following a week of intensive testing weíve now got the cleanest, purest, sweetest-smelling phones in the UK, though itís clear from our survey no one product does the whole job, and we suggest using a combination of cleaners, maybe someone will put together a kit?

 

The tests are very straightforward.  We assess how easy the product is to use, how effective it is at removing stubborn grime, how well it gets into nooks and crannies, claimed anti-bacterial properties, the smell it leaves behind -- remember itís going to be very close to your nose -- the safety of the chemicals involved (both to you and the phone) and lastly, value for money.

 

ALLSOP CLEANING TOWELETTES

Large (280 x 200mm) individually-wrapped Ďwetí cleaner wipes, generously impregnated with a cocktail of chemicals, including a plasticizer, for buffing up cases, an anti-static ingredient, to prevent a build up of dust, and a germicide cleaning agent. Excellent general-purpose wipe for all surfaces and getting between the keys, quite good at removing slimy deposits too. A slightly acidic chemical smell, but not too unpleasant. A touch pricey.

 

Make/model                  Allsop Cleaning Towellettes

Typical price                 £4.99 for 10

Type/method                 individually packed moist wipes

Obtainable from PC World

 

Effectiveness                 ****

Ease of use                   ****

Detoxification     ****

Smell                            ***

Safety                           ****

Value for money ***

 

WHAT CELLPHONE RATING     80%

 

FALCON DUST-OFF

Judging by the warnings on the can, difluroethane gas is dodgy stuff. Donít clean your phone in a confined space, squirt it in your ear or mouth and donít smoke when youíre using it! The manufacturers also caution the liquid can discolour plastic, you have been warned. The trigger action can is highly pressurised and it will dislodge the stubbornest dust and fluff, itís good for getting all the gunge out of difficult to get at places but take care around the mike and earpiece the blast could damage them. Quite expensive, but it lasts a long time. Use with a moist wipe for all-round cleaning.

 

Make/model                  Falcon XL Dust-Off        

Typical price                 £9.99 for 300ml

Type/method                 compressed gas duster

Obtainable from PC World

 

Effectiveness                 ****

Ease of use                   ****

Detoxification     ***

Smell                            *****

Safety                           **

Value for money ***

 

WHAT CELLPHONE RATING     82%

 

HAMA DUST EX

This is an industrial sized version of those blower-brushes used to clean camera and camcorder lenses, but without the brush. Squeeze the blower bulb for a fine jet of air. Itís quite powerful, but hard work -- probably good for developing finger muscles. It can shift light contamination but itís no use against slime and grime, so it should be used in conjunction with a wipe or cloth.

 

Make/model                  Hama Dust Ex

Typical price                 £7.99

Type/method                 hand-pumped blower

Obtainable from good accessory dealers

 

Effectiveness                 ***

Ease of use                   ****

Detoxification     ***

Smell                            *****

Safety                           *****

Value for money ***

 

WHAT CELLPHONE RATING     78%

 

HAMA MICRO OPTIC CLEANER

Micro-fibre cloths are brilliant. They were originally developed for cleaning lenses but the hollow fibres soak up all sort of deposits, without leaving any residue or smearing, and it can be washed and used again. Not so good at removing sticky sludge and it doesnít get into small crevices but good for a regular wipe over -- display windows come up a treat.

 

Make/model                  Hama Micro Optic Cleaner

Typical price                 £2.99

Type/method                 micro-fibre cleaning cloths

Obtainable from good accessory dealers

 

Effectiveness                 ****

Ease of use                   ****

Detoxification     ***

Smell                            *****

Safety                           *****

Value for money ****

 

WHAT CELLPHONE RATING     85%

 

ROLTECH FAX AND PHONE CLEANER KIT

The six moist wipes in this kit come in three sizes (two of each). The small ones are for phones, the middle-sized ones are good for cleaning larger hard surfaces and the big ones are used on fax machines. The cloths are very heavily impregnated with fluid and they leave a slightly sticky residue but it soon evaporates. Reasonably effective and the smell is not overpowering.

 

Make/model                  Roltech Fax and Phone Cleaner Kit

Typical price                 £4.10 for 6 wipes

Type/method                 moist cleaner wipes

Obtainable from Staples Office Supplies

 

Effectiveness                 ****

Ease of use                   ****

Detoxification     ***

Smell                            ***

Safety                           ****

Value for money ***

 

WHAT CELLPHONE RATING     75%

 

SAPONA TELEPHONE SANITISER

This is a phone product, and the can mentions mobiles, so it should be very safe. The pump-action can is eco-friendly too. Just spay a couple of squirts on to a lint-free cloth and start scrubbing. Good value, the detergent ingredient is effective on grime and it leaves a very pleasant small. Recommended.

 

Make/model                  Sapona Telephone Sanitiser

Typical price                 £3.51 for 250ml

Type/method                 pump-action cleaning fluid

Obtainable from Staples Office Supplies

 

Effectiveness                 ****

Ease of use                   ****

Detoxification     *****

Smell                            ****

Safety                           ****

Value for money ****

 

WHAT CELLPHONE RATING     88%

 

SAPONA TELEPHONE WIPES

This tub of wipes is very convenient though the cloths, which measure 180 x 130 mm are not very big, and they donít feel particularly moist. The cleaning action isnít especially good and it may take two or three wipes to shift ground-in dirt. The smell isnít too bad, it has slightly vinegarish overtones.

 

Make/model                  Sapona Telephone Wipes

Typical price                 £6.69 for 100

Type/method                 moist disposable wipes

Obtainable from Staples Office Supplies

 

Effectiveness                 ****

Ease of use                   ****

Detoxification     ****

Smell                            ****

Safety                           ****

Value for money ***

 

WHAT CELLPHONE RATING     80%

 

TECHCESSORIES FOAMING CLEANER

One small squirt delivers a mass of seething foam, that gets into all the awkward little places. Itís excellent at removing grime and when itís wiped off surfaces come up clean and shiny. The smell is very pleasant, a cross between furniture polish and new cars. One of the best, good value, recommended.

 

Make/model                  Techcessories Foaming Cleaner

Typical price                 £2.27 for 200ml

Type/method                 aerosol cleaning fluid

Obtainable from Tandy

 

Effectiveness                 *****

Ease of use                   *****

Detoxification     ***

Smell                            ****

Safety                           ***

Value for money *****

 

WHAT CELLPHONE RATING     88%

 

WH SMITHS HARD SURFACE WIPES

This tub of 100 wipes (each 180 x 135mm) is soaked in a solution that smells a bit like a proprietary window cleaner, theyíre quite damp and do a fair job of removing sticky slime but you may need two or three of them to do the job properly. Good value.

 

Make/model                  WH Smiths Hard Surface Wipes

Typical price                 £3.00 for £100

Type/method                 moist cleaner wipes

Obtainable from WH Smiths

           

Effectiveness                 ****

Ease of use                   ****

Detoxification     ***       

Smell                            **

Safety                           ****

Value for money *****

 

WHAT CELLPHONE RATING     85%

 

 

---end---

R. Maybury 1996 3105

 


 

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