Whether you believe reports that your smartphone is germier than a toilet or not, there’s a good chance it could use a cleaning, especially if you don’t use a case. Fortunately, cleaning your phone properly only takes a few minutes and common household cleaning products.
Apple, Samsung, and Google all have their own cleaning tips for dirty phones, and they’re all pretty similar. We’ve combined that knowledge with our years of experience to create a simple guide to cleaning your phone. And if dust or lint is interfering with charging, we can help with that as well.
What you require
- A lint-free, soft cloth: Wipe down your phone with this to avoid scratching its surfaces. Apple recommends a lens cloth, while Samsung recommends microfiber cleaning cloths. Consider Apple’s Polishing Cloth if you can get your hands on one.
- Soapy warm water: It only takes a few drops of dish soap in some water. Seventh Generation Dish Liquid is a favorite of ours.
- 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe: Apple, Samsung, and Google all recommend cleaning their devices with isopropyl alcohol-based wipes. You can also use 75% ethyl alcohol wipes or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, according to Apple. Samsung also recommends hypochlorous acid-based solutions containing 50 to 80 ppm.
- A wooden toothpick: We recommend using a toothpick to clean out the ports on your phone. Metal can cause internal damage, and cotton swabs will leave more debris behind.
How long will it take to clean this?
Most of the time, wiping down your phone will only take a few seconds. Depending on how much lint is in your charging port, this could take a few minutes. Wipe down your phone whenever you notice a smudge on the screen or when you use it in a germy environment and think it could benefit from a cleaning.
Unplug your phone and turn it off
There’s a very small chance that cleaning your phone will cause any internal damage. However, before wiping down your phone, make sure it is completely powered off and disconnected from power.
Wipe with a soft cloth
Wipe down your phone with a soft cleaning cloth before applying any cleaning solutions. This should get rid of any remaining fingerprints or smudges. If there is any dust or other material between your cloth and your phone, pressing too hard may result in scratches, so don’t push too hard.
Warm, soapy water should be used to clean
If there are still marks, use a dampened microfiber cloth with warm, soapy water. This should remove any stains that may have surfaced.
Most germs on your phone’s surface will be killed by a simple swipe with your favorite disinfectant wipe—alcohol-based or Clorox wipes.
Clean the port of lint and dust
Lint and dust in the charging port could be the cause of your phone’s inability to charge when plugged in. In this case, a wooden toothpick is an excellent tool to use. It’s small enough to catch any lint, but it shouldn’t scratch or damage the metal contacts, which could lead to bigger problems.
None of the three phone manufacturers we looked into provided any cleaning instructions, but we’ve always had success with a gentle touch. There is always some risk when you do anything to your phone that is not recommended by the manufacturer.
What to avoid
Apple, Samsung, and Google all advise against directly spraying cleaner on your phone. Instead, dampen the cleaning cloth and wipe down your device. They all expressly state that compressed air should not be used.