Fingerprints Begone! Rain-X as an Anti-Fingerprint Solution

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RAIN-X and a Samsung Focus

Glossy screens have a thing for getting covered in fingerprints within minutes of use, even if they were wiped down and cleaned moments ago. Rain-X, a hydrophobic (water repelling) glass treatment meant for cars, reportedly tackles fingerprints, and not just rain. We applied some to our Samsung Focus Windows Phone, and, lo and behold, the stuff actually works. While Rain-X won’t block all fingerprints, it certainly does prevent a large fraction of them from sticking and making smudges on everything we applied it to. Here’s our guide to applying RAIN-X to a touchscreen phone, tablet, or really any fingerprint prone surface without causing any harm.

To prove that it works, below are our results. To the left is an untreated Droid 1 and to the right is a Samsung Focus which has had Rain-X applied to a screen protector on the screen. Both went through a good thirty minutes of use before the picture was taken.

Untreated vs Applied

That’s not to say that Rain-X made the Focus completely fingerprint proof. Swiping across the screen will leave a barely noticeable streak that will still require a microfiber cloth and alcohol to clean off completely (rubbing it off with a shirt only spreads oil around the screen). We found Rain-X was best at repelling fingerprints generated by quick taps from typing or playing a game.

Things you will need:

  • Rain-X Original (not the spray)
  • A handful of paper towels
  • A clean microfiber cloth
  • Optional: A screen protector for your device

While it should be safe to put Rain-X on the screen of your phone or tablet, we didn’t want to take any chances and opted to apply it to a screen protector instead. That way, if something goes wrong, the screen protector and Rain-X can be easily removed and discarded. However, do not directly drip Rain-X onto the screen. Before you start, be sure to clean the screen up with a substance like alcohol or lens cleaner as much as possible.

Pour some out onto a wad of paper towels and begin wiping it onto the screen (protector) in a circular, overlapping motion. Continue until the whole screen (protector) is thoroughly covered (though not drenched), giving it a hazy and foggy appearance. Then, wipe it down using the microfiber cloth until the fog clears. The screen should look exactly the same as it did before.

Samsung Focus and Rain-X

Your device should now be much less smudge prone than before! The screen’s surface may also be much more slick and easier to glide a finger on. According to online reviews for Rain-X as a car product, it requires re-application every couple of months. Finger oils are much less severe than heavy rainstorms, so we estimate that the Rain-X will last around half a year before it will require another coat for full effectiveness.

Side note: We found Rain-X to work on a variety of surfaces, including a netbook and Sidewinder X4 keyboard. So after you’re done fingerprint proofing your touchscreens, you can also try it out on other products that you don’t want fingerprints on. We can’t guarantee you won’t break anything though, so be sure to take caution!

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Posted in: Guides, Hardware
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This article has 4 comments

  1. Jim 05/26/2013, 12:26 pm:

    While you clearly recommend NOT to apply directly to the screen, I did so on my Samsung Galaxy S III and What a vast improvement! Thanks for the great suggestion!

  2. Brian Cui 05/26/2013, 4:29 pm:

    It’s fine to apply it to the screen, because Rain-X is a glass treatment after all. I discouraged it because I didn’t want people to damage their devices :)

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