Your Cellphone

Washing your hands isn’t enough, your smartphone is full of germs and bacteria — here’s how to safely clean it without ruining its screen

The best way to clean your smartphone safely without damaging its screen or internal components is to wipe it down with a lightly dampened microfiber cloth. If you have a Virus Knockout hand wipe, that would do the best job. If you don’t have one, spray Virus Knockout onto a micro fiber cloth and then use it to wipe it down.

hand wipe your cellphone
microfiber cloth your cellphone

You should never submerge your phone in a cleaning agent, or spray cleaning fluid directly onto the device.

If you’re anything like the average American, you probably check your smartphone more than 50 times per day, as a Deloitte study from 2018 found.

And each time you do, your mobile device picks up more bacteria from your hands. In fact, The University of Arizona found back in 2012 that cellphones carry 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, largely because toilet seats are typically cleaned more frequently while personal electronics are largely overlooked.

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are advising the general public to wash their hands often and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. That means keeping your phone clean is important as well.

But cleaning your phone can be tricky, considering many of the standard cleaning products you’d typically use for disinfection could potentially damage your mobile device.

Here's a look at how you can clean your phone safely without damaging its screen or internal components.

Avoid using aerosol sprays and bleaches, and don’t spray cleaner directly onto your smartphone.

It may be tempting to scrub your phone’s screen with a traditional disinfectant spray or general purpose cleaner. But it’s important to be careful when doing so to avoid damaging your device.

You should never submerge your phone in a cleaning product and should be careful to avoid getting moisture in any openings, like the charging port. Do not spray cleaners directly onto the device, and you shouldn’t use aerosol sprays or bleaches.

Using cleaning agents on smartphone screens is generally ill-advised because it could strip away the screen’s coating. Apple recently updated its support page to clarify that Clorox Disinfectant Wipes and 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes are safe. Safe for their phone but not so safe for you? See Dangers of alcohol.

“These phones have a coating on them to prevent oil or grease from your hand from sticking on the phone, using alcohol or or those types of everyday solutions directly on a phone, on its glass, can harm it.”

It’s the same coating that causes liquid to bead up on your phone’s screen and prevents fingerprints from smudging it up. Even if that coating does wear down over time, using cleaning chemicals will only strip it away faster.

Both Apple and Samsung say on their support pages that wiping your phone down with a cloth— preferably one that’s soft and lint-free — is a safe method of cleaning it. You can dampen the cloth with warm water and soap to get rid of any debris or substance that requires more than just a wipe-down. Problem is, that solution won’t get rid of any bacteria or viruses?

Most modern smartphones are water-resistant, but you should still be cautious when exposing them to liquids.

And of course, keeping your hands clean can go a long way.
Keep [your] hands clean and disinfected and then your phone will pretty much stay clean and disinfected.

That includes thinking twice before bringing your phone to the bathroom 😀