How To Clean Your Smartphone Properly

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on July 2, 2014, How To Guides

Do you wash your hands before you use your smart phone? No, it’s okay, don’t feel bad, no one does. The problem with this is that smart phones can be absolutely filthy, crawling with germs and bacteria that come from unwashed hands, or even lying around on tables or desks (or worse, from the toilet, those people who use their phones on the toilet know who they are!).

Giving your smart phone a solid clean should be at least a monthly occurrence. Not just because you want your phone to look awesome and shiny, but also because all those creepy crawlies on your mobile can give you skin conditions, ear infections, and might even make you sick. Fortunately, cleaning your phone is pretty easy. And today we’re going to be walking you through the process so that you’ll have a beautiful and hygienic smart phone.

What You Will Need

Before you get started, it’s best to have all the tools that you’ll need for the job on hand, so here’s a quick list of the major things you’re going to need:

  • Isopropyl or Rubbing Alcohol: usually found next to the sticking plasters or with the baby stuff, this will be used for cleaning hard plastic and it’s an excellent disinfectant.
  • Distilled Water: it’s worth getting some of this rather than using tap water since it has been purified and cleaned of minerals and deposits that might mark or damage your phone. You’re going to use it for cleaning your screen and camera lens.
  • Microfiber Cloth: again, it’s worth making an investment to pick up one of these from your local electronics store, they’re cheap and won’t leave lint or fibres on your phone, which will be important when you’re cleaning and polishing.
  • Cotton Buds/Q-Tips: they’re not just for cleaning your ears! Cotton buds will be perfect for getting into little nooks and crannies where your fingers just don’t reach, so have a supply on hand!
  • Newspaper: it’s always a good idea to protect the surface you’re working on, plus it’ll give you somewhere to put clean pieces of your phone when you’re working.

Let’s take a second here to look at what you don’t need. You won’t need any household cleaners, window cleaner or regular cloths. Everyday cleaning products are too harsh to use on your smart phone, so steer clear!

Before You Start

Before you get to the cleaning, you’re going to want to turn your phone off. If it’s possible, remove the back cover of your phone and take out the battery, as well as removing any kind of case that you use. If you’ve got a screen protector, gently peel it off the screen. However, if your screen is cracked, you might want to consider leaving the screen protector on and just cleaning over it. Your phone won’t be as clean, but removing a protector from a cracked screen can make the screen crack even more, so proceed with caution. Now you should be all ready to get to cleaning.

Step One

Clean the Phone Keyboard

Clean the Phone Keyboard

If you’ve got a Blackberry, or some other kind of keyboard phone, you’ll need to clean the keyboard first. You can do this by dipping a cotton bud into rubbing alcohol and gently swirling it around the keys. Don’t put too much alcohol on the cotton bud though, you want it damp not dripping wet otherwise you’re going to get moisture under the keys.

Similarly if you’ve got a touch pad you’ll want to do the same thing, cotton bud plus alcohol. For physical keys (think home button, volume controls, power buttons) you can also clean them with cotton buds and alcohol. You’ll need to be extra careful that the cotton bud isn’t too wet when cleaning physical buttons, however.

Step Two

Clean Hard Plastic with Rubbing Alcohol

Clean Hard Plastic with Rubbing Alcohol

Now comes the big clean. You’re going to clean the hard plastics of your phone (NOT the touch screen) with rubbing alcohol. You can use cotton buds for this, or just wet a small corner of your microfibre cloth and do it that way. Don’t rub too hard, a gentle pressure should be fine. You can do this on the back cover of your smart phone and around the edges, anywhere where there’s plastic.

If you happen to have metal on your phone, maybe around the edges, don’t use alcohol though. Instead, use distilled water on a cotton bud for cleaning metal trim. If you’re phone has a removable back cover you’ll want to take another cotton bud with alcohol and gently clean around the edges where the cover fits to get all the dust and dirt out.

Step Three

Clean Removable Battery Area

Clean Removable Battery Area

You’re half way done and your phone should be looking great by now! If your phone doesn’t have a removable cover or battery then you can skip this step and move on to the next.

Turn your phone around and use a dry cotton bud to clean all the dust out of the place where the battery fits. If you really have to you can use a little distilled water too, but dry it immediately.

Step Four

Clean Camera with Distilled Water

Now you’re going to clean your camera up. Grab another cotton bud and dip one end into your distilled water. Clean the camera lens and flash using small circular movements, and then quickly turn the cotton bud over and use the dry end to dry the lens and flash. Drying is important because it will stop water marks forming on the lens- which would make for some blurry pictures.

Step Five

Clean Touchscreen with a Microfibre Cloth

Clean Touchscreen with a Microfibre Cloth

You’re so close to being done, but now you need to clean that pesky touch screen. Dip a corner of your micro fibre cloth into distilled water and wipe the screen in vertical strokes starting from the top and moving down. Don’t clean using circles, that might scratch the screen, and also move away from the ear piece or speaker at the top of the screen so that you don’t get water in it.

When you’ve done that, do the same thing again with a dry area of your cloth to make sure that you get a perfectly clean screen with no water marks. Be warned: some top end phones, especially iPhones, are made completely from glass. If this is your case then you’ll need to clean the back panel of the phone in the same way as you clean the screen.

Finishing Up

Your phone should be all sparkly and germ free now, and it’s just time to deal with the extra stuff. If you use a case then you should clean that too, using cotton buds to get into all the corners, and distilled water where necessary. You might also want to apply a new screen protector as well, which will help not only protect your screen but also to keep it clean.

Now you can carefully put your phone back together (watching that you don’t get any fingerprints on it, of course!), and switch it on.
Congratulations! You’ve now got a beautiful and shiny phone that should look almost new! But more importantly, you’ve also got rid of most of those germs and bacteria, so your phone won’t be making you sick any time soon…

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