How to disinfect your iPad for clinical use with an evidence based medical app

For doctors who use their iPads in hospital on a regular basis, one of the most important considerations is how to prevent the spread of nosocomial infections.

A recent paper published in JMIR[1] established that a mobile app can be used as an effective intervention to reduce microbial load.

This review will focus on the free de-Bac app which was successfully used to reduce bacterial load.

The premise of the app is incredibly simple.

The app uses a step-by-step process to effectively and efficiently disinfect the iPad.

The app takes advantage of a number of inbuilt features of the iPad in order to make this task easier. For example, the app takes advantage of the inbuilt accelerometers to ‘know’ when the iPad has been turned over to be disinfected. There is an alarm function for scheduling daily disinfection, and a complete log for audit purposes.


For users who want an evidence-based medical app to disinfect their iPad, look no further. The following guide is provided here for informative purposes. Before you begin, there is a large disclaimer that points out that disinfecting your iPad may well invalidate your warranty and is not condoned by Apple in anyway.


Step 1

Unplug all connectors from the device and remove any visible stains.


Step 2

Put on gloves.


Step 3

Wipe front of iPad until all of screen is blue.


Step 4

Wipe top of frame and proceed by rotating the iPad in 90 degree steps until all sides of the frame have been cleaned.


Step 5

Turn the device and wipe the back surface in a regular fashion for at least 10 seconds

IMG_0111Step 6

Check for any leftover stains and repeat as necessary.


The spread of infection within a hospital is one of the major burdens on healthcare. As the use of mobile devices in clinical settings increases, clinicians must take all practicable steps to try to reduce the spread of infection. Mobile devices are already renowned for harbouring significant quantities of bacteria and therefore, we recommend that all users download this app and use it regularly to protect their patients.

iTunes Link

[1]Albrecht UV, von Jan U, Sedlacek L, Groos S, Suerbaum S, Vonberg RP
Standardized, App-Based Disinfection of iPads in a Clinical and Nonclinical Setting: Comparative Analysis
J Med Internet Res 2013;15(8):e176


Tom Lewis


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4 Responses to How to disinfect your iPad for clinical use with an evidence based medical app

  1. RWilsker September 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    Two issues:

    1. The cautions include advice to turn of the device before cleaning it. This makes any device or app based capabilities unusable (instructions, timers, accelerometers, etc.).

    2. Many users put their iPads in protective covers of sleeves. There’s no advice in this on what to do about this: avoid them in clinical settings? clean them separately, but at the same time?

  2. Jack N September 8, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Why would they not say anything about using a disposable sleeve like the iBarrier. You still have clean the iPad , but not after seeing every patient.

    We’ve been using it in our dental practice for a while now.

  3. Andreas Floth September 9, 2013 at 3:01 am #

    any similar recommendations for iPhones ?

  4. Jim Gauthier May 1, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    As an Infection Control Practitioner who has been asked this on many occasions, I respond that if clean hands touch the iPad or device, and after use, hands are sanitized before entering a patient room, there really is little need for cleaning the device unless it is touched with soiled hands or something gets spilled on it. In other words, work with your patient, examine them, sanitize your hands and document your findings. If during your exam, you need to access the device, sanitize your hands, then touch the device. Before touching the patient again after using the device, sanitize your hands! I think the bigger issue is getting the device soiled with body substances, and how to clean that off. I like the covers which can be disinfected much easier.

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