For many of us, our mobile phones are glued to our hands throughout the day on our commute, at work, and at home. But if we clean our hands more often, shouldn’t we do the same with our handheld computers?
As Covid-19 continues to spread, health officials are placing greater emphasis on ensuring their technology is as clean as possible to reduce the spread of the disease.
Previously, mobile phone manufacturers have been reluctant to advise owners to use antibacterial products in their phones. However, amid the coronavirus pandemic, Y have updated their advice to say that 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes are safe for disinfecting your phone.
But with the high demand for cleaning products, you may not find ways to clean your phone if you don’t have wipes on hand.
Fortunately, these are not your only options. We’ve picked out the best ways to clean your phone and a few things to keep in mind to make sure you don’t damage it.
Video: how to clean your phone
Watch our video for quick tips on cleaning your phone and find out what not to do to avoid damaging your device.
Five ways to safely clean your mobile phone
There are a few ways to make sure your phone is as clean as your hands while avoiding unnecessary damage to the device.
Before cleaning, always start by turning off your phone and make sure to let it dry once before turning it back on. It is also recommended that you clean your phone every day.
1. The safest option is wipes
As brands like Apple and Google advise, using a 70% alcohol wipe is the best option for cleaning your phone. These wipes can be used on all exterior surfaces of the phone, such as the screen and back cover, avoiding any openings in the phone (headphone ports, speakers, etc.).
However, as you may have noticed if you checked your local supermarket or searched online, these wipes are not easy to find right now, certainly at a reasonable price.
2. Use mild soap and water as an alternative
This method may not be as good at killing germs as alcohol wipes, but if all else fails, a little soap on hand can get rid of some of the dirty bacteria hiding in plain sight on your telephone.
Start by making a mixture of dish soap and water. All advice is to avoid immersing the phone in soapy water at all costs because this can seriously damage its interior. Instead, dip a microfiber (and preferably lint-free) cloth into the solution. These cloths are much less abrasive than towels or tissues and are less likely to damage the scratch-resistant protective layer on your phone’s screen.
Make sure the cloth is also not wet. It should only be damp so that no excess water enters the phone, especially if it is not waterproof.
3. If all else fails, give it a light rinse, but only if it’s waterproof.
This tip is strictly for those whose phones are certified waterproof. And not just any waterproof IP certification: IP67 and above.
IP (Ingress Protection) ratings certify your phone against the ingress of dust and contact with water at different levels, depending on its rating number. If your phone is IP67 certified, it can withstand submersion in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes, while IP68 certified phones are fine in up to 1.5 meters of water, although this can vary by manufacturer, so it is always better to check .
If you don’t have baby wipes or dish soap handy, you can rinse your phone with fresh water to clean it. Once again, we advise you not to submerge it in water with additional cleaning products, as this could seriously damage internal components and enter openings in the phone. Be careful if you also have cracks on your phone, as water may inadvertently seep into the phone more than you expect.
Be sure to let your phone dry for at least five minutes if you use this method.
4. Don’t use household cleaning products like bleach
If you’re having a hard time getting hold of some baby wipes, you might be tempted to mix up your own with some trusty cleaners under the kitchen counter.
Manufacturers, such as Apple, have warned against doing this, as the harsh chemicals in these cleaners can wear down the screen’s protective coating, especially if you use it constantly over a long period of time. Always avoid using products like bleach anywhere near your phone.
Another thing in your cleaning arsenal that you should also keep away from your phone is kitchen paper, which can often be abrasive.
Recently, advice from companies like AT&T has changed to reflect the fact that even fabric can damage your phone’s screen, possibly leaving scratches, especially if used repeatedly and with too much force. Ditch the kitchen towels for cleaning your hands and opt for a softer microfiber cloth.
5. Don’t forget to clean your phone case
Cleaning tips don’t just apply to those who come into direct contact with your smartphone. If you’re using a phone case to cover your precious phone, you need to be just as diligent about cleaning it, especially if your phone case doubles as a wallet to hold your cards and money.
In general, the same advice applies to your case as it does to your phone, but in some cases, you can have a little more freedom. Make sure to always remove the phone case before cleaning it.
Cleaning tips vary depending on the case material you have. We’ve provided a few tips below so that whether you’re holding a smartphone covered in leather, wood, or silicone, you can keep it germ-free:
- Leather – To clean this type of casing, use a damp cloth with a mild hand soap and water solution. You can also use a mild cleanser with the cloth to remove tough stains.
- Plastic, rubber and silicone. – Soak the case in a solution of dish soap and warm water for a few minutes. If you have stubborn stains, you can gently rub them with a toothbrush to try to get them out. Dry the case with a microfiber cloth.
- Wood – Contact with water can deteriorate the wood over time, so use a dry microfiber cloth regularly to clean these cases.