Your phone is almost undoubtedly filthy. Right now. Even if it looks clean to the eye, it's likely in dire need of a thorough cleaning. At least, that's the case for nearly every actively-used smartphone in existence today. The way these devices are designed and used makes them uniquely susceptible to bacterial, oils, dust, general grime, and more.
But that isn't say it's all hopeless, and that we should simply accept having a filthy device in our pockets at all times. In light of all this, those wondering how to clean their phone -- properly -- should find it comforting that the process is easier than one might assume. While there is plenty of scary-sounding research into the ways phones affect our health, the solutions to dealing with it are surprisingly easy and simple.
How Often Should You Clean Your Phone?
The process of learning how to clean your phone starts with pinning down exactly how often to do it. Does one need to obsessively clean their iPhone or Android device after every call or text? Where is the line between standard, safe cleanliness and obsessive worry?
The answer regarding how to clean my phone screen is likely more than you currently do, but not exceedingly often. But first, let's get into the most common assumptions of what to avoid.
Do not clean your phone with the following:
- Standard rubbing alcohol. Concentrations above 70% are common for most uses for bottled rubbing alcohol, but this isn't appropriate for smartphone screens.
- Paper towels. Smartphone screens can withstand pressure, but paper towels can easily pick up detritus from your environment that, when rubbed against your phone's screen, cause scratches.
- Harsh solvents. This can be confusing, given that you'll find certain brands that produce products recommended by phone manufacturers like Apple, yet also have harsher solvents under similar branding.
How to Clean Your Phone Screen
Most of the things to watch out for with phone screens relate to the oleophobic coating on its glass. It's helpful to keep these factors in mind. But don't worry; if you're wondering if "how to clean my phone" is becoming too complex, the actual answers are straightforward. It just depends on which part of the phone you're working with.
You'll also want to pay attention to what exactly is happening with your phone screen. To increase the longevity of your touchscreen's coating without having to replace the glass, match the right cleaning method to the job at hand. You'll want to avoid high alcohol content hand sanitizer solutions, vinegar, and glass cleaner because of this.
What Can I Clean My Cell Phone Screen With?
Different phones have slightly different designs. Some lower end models don't have the same oleophobic or light-filtering coatings as others. Some are etched glass with little reflectiveness, while others are glossy. The latter will collect far more fingerprints and natural oils from use, while the former will usually be fine without any solvents at all.
There are cleaning options that are appropriate every time, like:
- A 70% or lower alcohol-to-water ratio solution. Try to use distilled water, rather than filtered water that inherently includes mineral content.
- Alcohol wipes that have 70% or lower alcohol content.
- A microfiber cloth, optionally treated with a small amount of distilled water.
- A specially-formulated screen cleaning product.
That last option is by far the best answer to the question, "how do I clean my phone?" By sticking to cleaning products developed from day zero for cleaning modern, oleophobic glass phone screens, you'll get the best results with little room for error. Look for keywords like "gentle," "biodegradable," and references to breaking down oils.
How to Clean a Sticky Phone Screen
Cleaning a sticky phone screen is slightly trickier, given how gentle cleaning products are preferred in most circumstances. You don't want to break down you oleophobic coating, but you will want to remove the material causing that sticky feeling.
If it became sticky from food or other simple organic material along those lines, a microfiber cloth used alongside a small amount of distilled water should help. If that doesn't eliminate the sticky feeling, using an all-natural screen cleaning product on a fresh microfiber cloth will do the trick. Avoid harsh products such as adhesive removers.
How to Clean a Phone Camera Lens
Knowing how to clean phone camera lens is a skill more people should take up, given how nearly all personal photographs are taken on smartphones at this point. This is slightly different from cleaning a screen. While you can still use screen cleaning solutions on your lens, it's not required. Oleophobic coatings are not involved here.
Start with using a cotton swab with a small amount of distilled water to gently clean the lens. If that doesn't entirely clear the lens, using either a camera lens cleaning solution or a screen cleaning solution will do the trick. Remember, though: less is more. If you have distilled water on hand, stick with that until your lens gets particularly dirty.
How to Clean Out Phone Speakers
Clean phone speakers are a huge boon to smartphone owners, even if they don't realize how bad things have gotten . Because your phone is usually in your pocket, purse or backpack, there's a good chance lint, small dirt particles, or other invasive materials are muffling your speaker right now.
First off, nearly every phone manufacturer recommends you don't use compressed air. That should be the first thing on your mind, regardless of how intuitive it is. Many of these products push air forcefully into places the designers did not intend.
Instead, gently rub a dry cotton swab along the side of the speaker grilles. If that doesn't get all of the offending materials out, try using a dry tooth brush with as little pressure applied as possible. Finally, as a last resort, try using a small amount of sticky tack to gently press against the speaker grille, to coax out any remaining detritus inside.
How to Clean a Phone Charging or Aux Port
"How to clean your phone?" is a question that normally brings the screen to mind. The speaker grille is a problem that tends to make itself known over time, as sounds become muffled and muted. The charging port, important as it is. tends to be noticed as an issue when things are already at a near-disastrous point.
Dirt or sand buildup can destroy your phone's charging port. Dust clogs become tightly-packed messes that are seemingly hard to remove. At worst, leaving these problems unchecked can destroy your phone -- to the point that "how to clean your phone" becomes more of a question of how to replace it.
The same goes for your aux port. While you can still use your phone without it, the value for daily usage declines heavily without it. As with your power port, debris inside the aux port is difficult because it gets pressed down repeatedly every single time you plug your headphones in.
This is a more specific project than the above, which mainly involve wiping your phone with a simple cleaning solution. You'll need to:
- Use a flashlight. If you're having trouble with your phone's charging or aux ports, the problem is likely deep inside of it. To have a hope of seeing what you're dealing with, try a small, bright flashlight.
- Obtain either wooden or plastic toothpicks. Do not use metal toothpicks for either your power or aux ports. This will cause cosmetic damage at best. At worst, you could damage connections or even cause an electrical short.
- Gently insert the toothpick and press it lightly along the sides of the back of the port. Use this motion to extract compacted materials. In these ports, lint with some amount of dirt is almost always the culprit of a noticeable clog.
If the above method doesn't properly clean your power or aux port, your problems might be too deep for home cleaning. A replacement of the ports or your phone may be necessary, depending on the damage to your device. But don't fret until you've tried. Many smartphone users are surprised to find that a long term port problem with their phone was entirely related to an easily extractable chunk of lint smashed into their device.
Conclusion About How To Clean Your Phone
Those wondering how to clean their phones should, after reading this article, see how easy it is. There are many wrong things to do, such as using high concentration rubbing alcohol, or using something metal to clean out a phone port. But the solutions are even more simple, once one is aware of what to avoid.
Using a specially-formulated smartphone screen cleaner simplifies the entire process. Distilled water on a microfiber cloth covers nearly everything else. on the surface of the phone. If your ports are taking on lint or dirt, a non-metal toothpick will get the job done with a light touch. And that's really all it takes when it comes to learning how to clean your phone.
These tips aren't a panacea, of course. If your phone took on heavy damage of some kind, breaking internal components or physically damaging the screen, it's time to contact the manufacturer to find out what steps to take next. But for the average buildup and clogs? A few minutes, the right choice of cleaning products, and you're looking at a like-new physical experience on your phone.