How Do I Clean a Cell Phone?

By Andrew Tennyson

Cleaning your cell phone can improve the functionality of the touch screen and prevent debris from clogging charging ports and other jacks. You can clean your cell phone in a matter of minutes using a few items found around the home.

Things You'll Need

  • Lint-free cloth
  • Cotton swabs
  • Disinfecting wipes or rubbing alcohol

Step 1

Turn the phone off, and then remove the battery and set it aside in a clean, dry place. Remove any headphones, charging cables and screen protectors currently attached to the device.

Step 2

Dab a lint-free cloth in warm water, and then gently wipe the front and back of the phone to remove grime and grease. Pay special attention to the phone’s screen, which often comes into contact with your face and hands, particularly if you’re using a touchscreen device.

Step 3

Wipe the phone down again, this time with a disinfecting wipe or a portion of the lint-free cloth dipped in a solution of 75 percent water and 25 percent rubbing alcohol. If you use a lint-free cloth, don’t get it too wet with the alcohol solution, and be careful not to press too firmly to avoid liquid seeping between keys or through cracks and into the interior of the phone, where it can damage delicate hardware.

Step 4

Dip a cotton swab in warm water and clean around any headphone jacks, charging ports or other inputs. Gently pry larger debris from these same ports using the dry end of the cotton swab. Avoid getting any water into the ports themselves. Use the cotton swab to clean grime, dust and other debris from other nooks and crannies as well.

Step 5

Let your phone dry out completely, and then replace the battery.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult your phone’s manual for warnings from the manufacturer about cleaning solutions. Apple, for instance, doesn’t recommend using alcohol solutions on its products. In these instances, use white vinegar instead of rubbing alcohol.
  • Avoid storing your phone without protection in places prone to dirt and debris, including pockets and purses. Dust and particles can become lodged in charging and headphones ports and, if rubbed against the screen, can result in permanent scratches and gouges.
  • To prevent your phone’s screen from getting dirty in the future, purchase a screen protector. Screen protectors are made of a thin plastic that, when laid over the phone, still let you manipulate a touchscreen while preventing scratches, smudges and other potential damage.
  • Purchase a case for your phone to protect its other elements from grime, scratches and impact damage. Depending on the make and model of your phone, you have literally dozens of options to choose from when it comes to cases. Some phones are compatible with wallet-style cases that protect the entire phone, including the screen.
  • Never spray cleaning solutions directly onto your phone. Always spray them onto a cloth, and then use the cloth to clean the phone.