Tips for Caring for Your E-Reader

kindle-careIf you’re an avid reader, chances are your e-reader gadget is just as active as you are, traveling from place to place and being subjected to tumbles, smudges, liquid spills, and other potentially damaging circumstances and elements. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you care for your e-reader to ensure that it lasts longer and continues to perform as you expect, without worry about breakage, damage, or problems with dirt and grime obscuring the screen.

Avoid Ordinary Cleaning Fluids

One of the most common misconceptions has to do with keeping the screen of your e-reader or other Wi-Fi gadget clean. Most consumers use a typical household glass cleaner, or a cleaner made for eyeglasses. That makes perfect sense. But the problem is that almost all of these ordinary cleansing liquids, sprays, or wipes are somewhat inappropriate for taking care of the screen on your e-reader.

These cleaners typically contain alcohol-based or ammonia-based detergents or acetone, for example. But these chemicals can leave annoying filmy streaks on your e-reader, making it harder to read your favorite books. These cleaning fluids are also not something you would want to put into your mouth – or let your child ingest. But if you are using a touch screen, your fingers are going to be in constant contact with them. Put your fingers in your eyes or mouth later and you run the risk of getting those same potentially toxic chemicals into your eyes or mouth.

What to Use Instead

Products that don’t harm touch screens and don’t contain harsh ammonia or alcohol – and receive outstanding reviews from experienced users – are your best bet. Those include, for example, the PhotoAmerica Alcohol & Ammonia Free Screen Cleaning Kit available at camera stores and through Amazon.com, or ROGGE DUO-Clean, made by a German company and recommended by manufacturers such as ASUS, Toshiba, and Smartbook.

You also want to use a quality microfiber wiping cloth, versus ordinary paper towels, Lysol wipes, or tissue. Although something like a Kleenex tissue may seem very soft, it still has the potential to leave scratches on a screen. There are lots of microfiber cloths available at computer stores, such as the 3M 9027 High Performance Cloth. Instead of applying the liquid cleaner to the screen directly, put some on your microfiber cloth and then use that to wipe the screen clean. Follow up if you want with an eyeglasses cloth to dry the screen.

Protection from Bumps, Drops, and Moisture

Protective accessories including hard cases and covers can also be a valuable investment to help protect your e-reader. At the bare minimum, you will probably want to use a protective film or sheet of transparent plastic-type material on the face of the screen to prevent scratches. For those who like to take their reading into more extreme environments, there are heavy-duty protective cases.

One robust example is the OverBoard Waterproof Kindle/eBook Reader Case, which is touted as being 100% waterproof and submersible in water up to 19 feet deep. Not only that, the soft polyurethane cover probably won’t even get that deep underwater unless you take it with you to read while you SCUBA dive, because it floats.

Protect Your E-Reader from Heat and Humidity

While most people realize that water is bad for electronic devices, not everyone realizes that even high humidity or steam can have the same negative impact. If you like to read while relaxing in a hot bath, for instance, the steam in the bathroom could seep into your e-reader and cause problems due to internal condensation.

Likewise, exposure to direct sunlight and other sources of heat can affect your device in ways that compromise its functionality. You shouldn’t leave it on a windowsill or car seat where the sun can beat down on it, for instance, and should keep it away from radiators, fireplaces, and space heaters.

Another Kind of Cleaning

While on the subject of cleaning, it is interesting to note that there is an app available in the iTunes app store that was designed to clean-up the profanity found in books. The Clean Reader by Inktera LLC scans the text and gives you the option to conceal those words by replacing them with a different word. In that way a string of curses from a sailor’s mouth might wind up reading “oh heck, darn, shoot” instead of the original more colorful wording. The apps operates in numerous languages, including English, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and more.

While we don’t advocate author censorship, we do see how there might be some utility for this kind of app. If you like to read adult-themed e-books, for instance, but you don’t want your children to see them and learn a bunch of new curse words, then you could activate the app when kids are around. Unfortunately they have not yet invented a downloadable app that will physically clean the fingerprints and grime from an e-reader. But if they do we will definitely give our readers and fans a head’s up.

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