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How do I clean my phone?

By Ashley Burnett

Originally published December 18, 2023

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Last Updated February 6, 2024

Mint Fox with graphic copy that says “How do I clean my phone?”

We don’t want to alarm you, but your phone is absolutely disgusting. Okay, maybe that was a little alarming, but according to Time, your phone could be 10 times dirtier than your toilet* and per square inch, your phone can have up to 25,127 bacteria just crawling around**. Why do phones get so dirty? Many people bring their phones into places with lots of bacteria — think restrooms and kitchens — and that bacteria then transfers to their phone. We also touch things with bacteria and transfer it to our phones when we pick them up. And since we’re constantly picking up our phones and touching them throughout the day, it’s only natural that phones get dirty — and that’s why it’s super important that you clean your toilet phone, especially to prevent the spread of germs and viruses. Now that you know how dirty your phone is, you’re probably asking yourself: how do I clean my phone?

In this article

What’s the best way to clean your phone?

There are many ways to clean your phone, but we recommend using certain techniques so you don’t damage your device:

  1. Turn your phone off and remove your case and any accessories
  2. Wash your hands (soap and water for at least 20 seconds…try singing Happy Birthday)
  3. Use a microfiber cloth (or a damp cloth)
  4. Sanitize your phone with the cloth and alcohol-based cleaning supplies
    • A solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol is recommended
  5. Let your phone dry for up to 5 minutes
  6. Use a wooden toothpick to lightly clean your phone’s ports
  7. Just like in the kitchen, wash your hands when you’re finished

How to clean a phone case 

Your phone is dirty, but don’t forget about your phone case. Cleaning your phone and not your case would be like showering and putting on dirty clothes right after: inadvisable. Clean your case with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, if approved by the case’s manufacturer, or follow these nifty steps:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds
  2. Grab your fave microfiber cloth (or a damp cloth)
  3. Sanitize your case with the cloth and alcohol-based cleaning supplies
  4. Just like with your phone, a solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol is recommended

How often should I clean my phone and case?

Call us Mr. Clean, but it’s best practice to wipe down your screen and phone daily — seriously. As for your case, a weekly wipedown should suffice to banish dust and grime. So grab that microfiber cloth and get to work.

Graphic copy that says “How to keep your phone clean” and these bullet points:
Wash your hands
Be mindful of your environment
Avoid using your phone in the kitchen
Don’t use your phone while eating
Use a phone sanitizer 
Keep wipes handy

How to keep your phone clean 

Now that you know how dirty your phone can get, here are a few ways to proactively keep it clean. 

Wash your hands

When you’re out and about, regularly wash your hands before handling your phone. And don’t be one of those people in the bathroom just turning the sink on and off to fake it.

Be mindful of your environment

At the gym? Don’t just toss your phone on the ground after every set (we know how tempting it is, though). Instead, keep it in your pocket or wipe it down when you’re done. At work? Consider getting a phone stand to keep it in one place you can easily wipe down. In the bathroom? Well… don’t be in there with your phone. Overall, just be mindful of the places you set your phone down.

Avoid using your phone in the kitchen

We’ve all needed to whip out our phone to double-check that recipe (was it one tablespoon or two?), but it’s better not to use your phone in the kitchen so as not to cross-contaminate surfaces —- not only could you be bringing bacteria into the kitchen, there are many not-so-great things, like raw chicken juice, that could get onto your phone. So channel your inner Barefoot Contessa and consider going old-school and writing your recipes down on a piece of paper.

Don’t use your phone while eating

Sorry, mukbang-ers. Greasy fingers can make your phone sticky and dirty. Put the phone down when you’re chowing down.

Use a phone sanitizer 

There are devices called UV phone sanitizers that can help remove up to 99.99% of germs. They work by using a UV light that can get to microorganisms hidden deep in the crevices of your phone.

Keep wipes handy 

As we said earlier, it’s best practice to try and clean your phone daily — so keep your wipes and microfiber cloth in reach at all times.

Graphic copy that says “What not to do when cleaning your phone” and these bullet points:

Don’t get liquid into your phone’s ports
Don’t plug your phone in
Avoid paper towels
Don’t use rubbing alcohol
Don’t apply solutions directly to your phone

What not to do when cleaning your phone

Just as there are some cleaning dos, there are also some cleaning don’ts. Here’s what not to do when cleaning your phone.

Don’t let any liquid get into your phone’s ports 

This can damage the charging port and the sound system of your phone, preventing you from listening to your fave Taylor Swift era.

Don’t have your phone plugged in

As you might imagine, having your phone plugged in is a major safety hazard.

Avoid paper towels

Paper towels can actually end up leaving scratches on your screen, in addition to leftover debris. As mentioned earlier, opt for microfiber cloths instead.

Don’t use rubbing alcohol

Make sure the alcohol you will use on your phone is safe to use on phone screens, like the 70 percent isopropyl alcohol we mentioned before.

Don’t apply solutions directly on your phone

Instead, wet the cleaning cloth first. You don’t want to wet your phone since it can damage your electronics (and, of course, it’s a safety hazard).

Hopefully the question “How do I clean my phone?” has been answered

Now you can beat those “dirtier than a toilet” allegations. With your phone totally squeaky clean on the outside…why not fix up its insides and make it run a little faster? And, for a complete phone makeover, you might even consider switching to Mint.

*https://time.com/4908654/cell-phone-bacteria/

**https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/talk-about-going-viral-touch-screen-devices-harbor-germs/

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