If you are anything like the average American, you probably check your smartphone over 50 times every day.  And each time you do, your device picks bacteria from your hands. In fact, The University of Arizona discovered back in 2012 that cellphones catch 10 times more germs than a toilet seat, mainly because toilet chairs are usually cleaned more often while personal electronics are mostly overlooked.

Since the novel coronavirus continues to spread, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are advising the populations to wash and disinfect their hands and frequently-touched surfaces and objects. That means keeping your phone clean! You need to learn how to clean your smartphone without causing any permanent damage.

But, cleaning your smartphone can be difficult, considering many of the cleaning products you use for disinfection could potentially harm your smartphone device.

Here are some suggestions on how you can clean your smartphone without damaging its display or components.

Avoid Using Rubbing Alcohol, Similar Sprays, Or Disinfectants

It may be tempting to wipe down the display of your smartphone with some alcohol or disinfectant wipe. But in doing this, you risk damaging the screen of your device.

“These phones have a layer on them to prevent oil or grease from your hand from sticking on the phone,” Jason Siciliano, global creative director and vice president of smartphone security service SquareTrade.  Using alcohol or those kinds of routine solutions directly on the phone, on its glass, can damage it.

It’s the same coating that makes liquid to bead up on your phone’s display and keeps fingerprints from smudging it up, Taylor Dixen, a teardown engineer of iFixit. Even if that layer does wear down with time, Dixen says applying cleaning chemicals will simply tear it away faster.

That lines up with the information Apple and Samsung provide on their support pages, which warn to not use cleaning solutions.

Use A Microfiber Fabric And Dampen It Gently

Both Apple and Samsung say wiping your phone down with a cloth-preferably one that is lint-free and soft — is the best way to clean it. You may dampen the cloth with soap and warm water to eliminate material or any debris that requires more than just a wipe-down.

Most smartphones are water-resistant, although still, you need to be careful when introducing them to liquids.  You’ve still had to make sure no liquid gets into the inside the phone through its charging port.

You should unplug your device and turn off it before cleaning it, Apple mentions on its site.

Disinfect Your Smartphone Using An UV Light To Kill Germs

If you’re looking for an alternate option for killing germs, you can try a UV telephone sanitizer such as Phone Soap, which takes UV-C light to break down bacteria and germs. It’s a relatively small box that almost seems like a tanning bed for your cellphone that blasts it with UV-C light to make it free from germs.

Phone Soap has gotten favorable reviews from Insider Picks, CNN, and Reviewed. That is having been said, at $80, it is a relatively expensive option. And a few Amazon reviewers claimed that the device stopped working after a brief period of use.

But if you’re currently seeing a way to disinfect your device, a UV sanitizer such as Phone Soap may be worth looking into.

Do Not Forget To Clean Your Phone Case

However you should not use cleaning products on your mobile device, you might be able to do so on its case, based on the materials it is made from. That could be a safe way to sanitize your device since the case is that outer shell that comes into contact with foreign surfaces.

Keeping Your Hands Washed Can Go A Long Way

Keep hands clean and disinfected, and then your phone will pretty much remain sterile and clean.  That involves thinking twice before taking your smartphone to the bathroom.

I think it’s simply being mindful of where you are putting your smartphone and how you are handling your cell phone.

How To Clean Fingerprint Spots From Your Smartphone Display

Smudges are hard to keep away because your skin produces oils. That means that each and every time you pick your phone up, it is bound to get fingerprints all over it.

The safest and effective way is to clean your smartphone is using a microfiber cloth. If the screen needs cleaning, use distilled water to wet the microfiber cloth and then wipe down your phone screen — avoid squirting the water directly on the screen. This method can also be used on the sides and the back of your phone.

You can also use a microfiber screen cleaner sticker, which you attach to the mobile phone’s back, and can pop off when you want to give it a wipe-down.

Remove Sand And Lint With This Suggestion

Sand and lint can get stuck in your phone’s ports and in the regions where the screen and the body meet.  The optimal solution for removing lint and sand is Scotch tape.

You roll it up and may put it along with the speaker and the creases and gently place it in the ports. The stickiness of the tape will pull any lint or sand, which might be stuck in your cell phone.

For the little speaker holes that tape can not reach, use a toothpick or try to vacuum out the debris using a small crevice tool.

Image: forbes.com

Never Use These Eight Things To Clean Smartphone

We are not here to humiliate you but drop that bottle of Windex, stat. This is not to clean your screen.

1. Window Cleaner

You wash your windows and mirrors with window cleaner, and they’re absolutely clean, so it must be good to use on your phone? Wrong! Some latest phones, such as the iPhone XR, have a protective coating that resists oil and water, which may wear out over time.

Using harsh cleaners might strip the coating and leave your phone vulnerable to scratches. An associate professor of technology and materials science at MIT, James LeBeau, told us that any cleaner with an abrasive agent will scratch on the surface, so those should be avoided.

2. Kitchen Cleaners

The scratch-resistant features of a screen won’t get ground down by cleaning agents, but removing that protective coating is still an issue. That is why Apple also proposes not using household cleaning products to clean your iPhone, such as bleach. Bar Keepers Friend, as an instance, says that its abrasive formula may damage the protective coating. Bon Ami says to not use on glass with coatings.

3. Paper Towels

They might be the go-to for cleaning your desk but keep them away from your cell phone. The newspaper can shred, which makes the debris onto your phone. Paper towels can wind up leaving scratches on your screen.

4. Rubbing Alcohol

Since most phones have a protective coating, alcohol can wear away it faster, causing your phone to be more prone to scratches. Be sure you check for alcohol in product ingredients on any “safe to use” phone screen cleaners. Apple’s advice is not to use alcohol when clean cellphone.

5. Makeup Remover

Makeup removers may contain chemicals that can be problematic when you use them on an electronic screen. Don’t use makeup removers but use a cloth with a small amount of water.

6. Compressed Air

Your phone is fragile, blowing off an amount of air can cause some harm. Tech companies, such as Apple, especially warn to not use compressed air.

7. Dish Soap And Hand Soap

While your dish and hand soaps might be mild, the only way to use them would be to combine them with water. Most phone companies indicate to keep water away from the phone and stick to the cloth.

8. Vinegar

This is a no-no. Vinegar will strip the coating of the screen. You could use quite diluted vinegar to cleanse many parts of your cell phone. Android Central advises a 50/50 mix with distilled water for cleaning the back and sides.


About John F.

I'm a career web developer/consultant by day and a tech blogger by night. I just moved to Colorado Springs, CO where I work for a high-tech government contractor.

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