how to clean a smartphone

How to Clean and Sanitize Your Smartphone

Everyone likes to keep their smartphones looking sleek and shiny. This is easy – just give the phone a good rub against your cloth and hold it against the light! However, that shiny surface may be a cesspool of germs and other harmful microbes. It’s important to learn how to clean a smartphone and sanitize it so that it’s germ-free.

You may not see them, but they are there lingering and waiting. You also transfer them to and from your hands every time you touch your phone, and they can pose serious health risks.

It is not prudent to leave them lingering around, especially considering that the new COVID-19 virus sticks to surfaces for days. Fortunately, it is easy to get rid of them – just give your smartphone a thorough cleaning. 

How To Clean Your Phone

wipe smartphone

So, how does one go about cleaning a smartphone, beyond the usual rub? Here is a simplified step-by-step guide:

Get the Necessary Cleaning Materials 

You will need more than just a piece of cloth to get rid of all the microbes on your smartphone. However, you don’t need any special supplies. 

The most important supply you will need is isopropyl alcohol, with a concentration rate of 70%. Alcohol is an effective disinfectant, but it shouldn’t be too concentrated or diluted, or else it may damage some of your phone’s functionalities. 

You will also need distilled water to dilute the isopropyl alcohol to acceptable levels – half a cup of distilled water, and a similar amount of alcohol will do the trick. Pour these liquids into a spray bottle and shake thoroughly to dilute.   

You will also need a soft cloth to rub and wipe the phone – experts recommend a lint-free microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the phone’s delicate surface. Finally, get several cotton swabs or wooden toothpicks for getting into the tight spaces. 

There are also UV phone sanitizers on the market – these work great, but they are expensive.


Prepare Your Phone for Cleaning

Don’t worry: you will not have to disassemble your smartphone to clean it. However, you will have to “go dark” for a few minutes as you clean your smartphone.

Switch off your smartphone and unplug any secondary accessories, such as earphones and USB cables. Remove the phone’s cover, too, if you have one. If your phone case is dirty, you can clean it while it’s off.

The idea is to leave all open surfaces exposed. While there may be microbes inside the phone, you risk damaging it if you try to disassemble it without the necessary technical skills. Besides, you only need to clean the surfaces that you come into contact with. 


Wipe the Open Surfaces 

Wiping your smartphone’s open surfaces should be an easy and quick affair. All you have to do is spray the alcohol-based solution on the cloth and wipe. However, there is one major catch: how much spray you use. 

Some smartphone users tend to get overzealous and use too much spray to clean their phones. Some even spray their phones directly, instead of spraying the cloth.

This is potentially risky because using too much of the alcohol-based solution will increase the risk of the liquid sipping into the phone’s internal components – and everyone knows that electronics and liquids don’t mix well. Using too much disinfectant is not necessary, either, as just a smudge of the solution will kill the germs and microbes. 


Clean Inside Tight Spaces 

cleaning phone camera

The cleaning cloth will only work for the large open surfaces, but you should keep in mind that there are microbes hidden in between the tight spaces. These tight spaces include the accessory ports, power and volume buttons, and the contours around the phone’s camera lens, among others. These are parts that you interact with repeatedly, so don’t overlook them. 

Cotton swabs or wooden toothpicks will help you easily get in between these spaces – be extra careful with toothpicks as they are harder than the soft cotton swabs. Just spray some of the alcohol-based disinfectants on the tip of your cotton swab and rub it over and inside those tight spaces. 


Clean Your Phone’s Accessories 

Your phone’s accessories are just as germy as the phone itself. For example, think of all the times you use your wireless earphones and all the places you leave them lying around! Now think of all the complications that these germs would cause to your ear canal! They, too, require a thorough cleanup. 

dirty earbuds

Cleaning your phone’s accessories should be quick and easy. Start with the phone’s case – wipe every inch of the cover using the soft cloth and disinfectant, and get in those tight spaces using cotton swabs.

Earphones are more delicate, so take your time and clean the earbuds using the soft cloth – gently swab the inside of the earbuds using the cotton swab to avoid damaging them.  


Polish & Dry 

This is the last step to making your smartphone germ-free. It entails giving the phone a quick wipe using the soft cloth and disinfectant and then waiting for it to dry.

The alcohol may take some time to kill all of the germs on your phone’s surface – experts recommend leaving it to dry for at least five minutes. Finally, attach the cover, power it on, and scroll away without fear of exposure to germs. 


How To Keep Your Phone Clean

phone with germs

You did well by cleaning your smartphone. However, it will not be long before germs start accumulating again. Try to keep them at bay by keeping your phone clean at all times. 

The easiest way to keep germs at bay is by keeping your hands clean and avoiding contact with dirty surfaces. Wiping your phone every time it comes into contact with dirty surfaces will also help. Alternatively, adopt a more hands-free approach by replacing your current case with an anti-microbial one to repel germs actively.  

Remember: these solutions only work to keep microbes at bay, but they are bound to accumulate over time. As such, it is important to repeat this cleaning process periodically – experts recommend doing it once a week, depending on how hygienic your phone is. 

Cleaning Beyond the Surface

The viruses and malware inside your phone’s software may not affect your health, but they can compromise your phone’s performance and your overall cybersecurity. As such, it is recommendable to get rid of any malicious programs using anti-virus software and other cybersecurity solutions! 

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