Unless you’re willing to only handle your touchscreen devices or camera lenses while wearing gloves, fingerprint smudges are inevitable. But if you still refuse to live a life with grease-covered gadgets, the WaterBear looks like a smarter alternative to a microfiber cleaning cloth because it sticks right to your gear so it’s always in reach and never goes missing.
As easy as it is to reach for a facial tissue or a piece of paper towel to clean a smudged screen or other delicate glass surface, paper products should be avoided at all costs. Even a soft piece of tissue could potentially scratch a glass surface—assuming it’s not made of a Tonka-tough material like Gorilla Glass. There are better solutions, but if your budget doesn’t include $79 to spend on a miniature washing machine designed specifically for eyeglasses, a soft microfiber cloth is the better way to go. Or at least it was.
The problem with microfiber cloths, as with anything you blindly cram into a pocket or a bag, is that they easily go missing, and are usually nowhere to be found when you actually need to clean off a greasy fingerprint. That’s what makes the WaterBear seem like a more clever and convenient solution.
Created by Kuvrd, the same company who crowdfunded one-size-fits-all water and dustproof silicone camera lens caps back in 2017, the front of the WaterBear is made of a “chamois, nano-carbon-active polyamide synthetic tri-blend material w/ omnidirectional fiber loops” while the back is covered in a reusable silicone adhesive gel allowing the pads to be stuck and restuck to almost any surface.
After a dozen or so uses (mileage will vary depending on just how greasy a glass surface is when cleaned) the WaterBear pads can be rinsed under water and air dried to clean them off which will also rejuvinate the stickiness of the adhesive on the back. They won’t last forever, however, which is why the WaterBears come in packs of six (two larger and four smaller) and are relatively cheap.
Its creators are once again turning to a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to bring the WaterBear pads to market, and at the time of writing the cheapest option for a six-pack is $15, with delivery expected sometime in July, later this year. That’s not as cheap as the free microfiber cloth that’s usually included with a pair of fancy sunglasses, but you’re paying a premium here for the convenience of knowing that when your smartphone’s screen gets disgustingly smeared with grease, you’ll always be able to find a cleaning pad stuck to the back of it.