How to Clean and Disinfect Your Phone the Right Way

|Regularly cleaning your phone is helpful

When most of us think about “cleaning our phone” we’re usually thinking about all those apps we don’t use or the gigabytes of photos and memes filling its precious storage capacity. Less often, we might consider how much dust, germs, and general grossness is stuck to it. After all, we’re constantly touching it, dropping it on the floor, laying it down on tables, and putting up to our face without a second thought. And, much like cleaning what’s inside your phone, it is helpful, healthy, and given current pandemic concerns, even necessary to clean our phones regularly.

The good news is that it’s easy to keep your phone clean, you just have to follow a few simple steps and be careful about how you do it.

What you Need to Clean Your Phone

You only need three things you need to clean your phone:

  • Distilled water
  • Rubbing alcohol (also known as 70% isopropyl alcohol or IPA).
  • A lint-free cloth (microfibre or lens-cleaning cloth)
  • Alternatively, you can use disinfecting wipes that use isopropyl alcohol
  • See note below about the use of alcohol on phone screens.


  • Glass cleaner or other household cleaners (these contain harsh chemicals that may damage your phone’s screen or circuits)
  • Bleach or hydrogen peroxide (same as above)
  • Compressed air or air dusters (this might damage the speakers or microphone on your phone)

How to clean your phone

  • Before you start Wash your hands and clean your work area so you don’t transfer dirt and germs to your phone while cleaning it
  • Step 1 Make sure your phone is off – obvious, we know, but it needs to be said
  • Step 2 Remove any cases, covers, or other phone accessories – including earbuds and chargers. These should all be cleaned separately.
  • Step 3 Wipe down the phone – Start by mixing one part water with one part alcohol, apply the mixture to a cleaning cloth (do not apply the mixture directly to your phone). Don’t go crazy with cleaner – you don’t want it dripping into your phone. Using the cloth dampened with the water/alcohol mixture, wipe down the entire surface of the phone. If you find there are spots on your phone that are hard to get into with the cloth, use a dry cotton swab to remove any grit or gunk, then wipe down again with the cloth.
  • Step: 4 Leave your phone to dry – Once you’ve finished cleaning your phone, leave it, turned off, for at least 15 minutes to air dry before trying to put it back in its case or turning it back on.
  • Step 5 Clean Your Case (if you have one) – while your phone is drying, clean your case so you’re not putting your clean phone back into a dirty case.If your case is made of silicone rubber, you can clean it in warm water and soap. If your case is hard plastic, use the same water and alcohol mixture you used to clean your phone, cleaning it with a lint-free cloth. If your case is made of leather, you should clean it with saddle soap or some other kind of leather cleaner (be sure to test in an inconspicuous spot first).Remember to make sure your case is dry before putting your phone back into it!

Phone Cleaning Tips

To best maintain your phone, we recommend you clean your phone like this about once every week or two. If you’re sick, you should be cleaning your phone once a day to prevent the spread of infection.
If you’re in a situation where you’ve potentially been exposed to germs or viruses, it’s a good idea to clean your phone immediately before using it again. There are single-use sanitizer wipes you can carry with you, or minimize using your phone and wash your hands immediately after touching it.

Clean your phone immediately if it comes into contact with anything that might stain or stick to it.
Avoid using your phone while you’re in the bathroom where there are lots of germs (especially public bathrooms). Wash your hands often, and be extra careful if your phone has been handled by other people (especially relevant for parents who let their children use their phones.)

A note on cleaning phone screens: many touchscreens include an oleophobic or hydrophobic coating to reduce smudges and fingerprints caused by normal use. These coatings might be damaged or removed by using harsh cleaners; even milder soap and water or the water-alcohol mix described earlier may remove these coatings. Follow your phone manufacturer’s instructions (e.g. Apple’s cleaning instructions and if in doubt, clean only with a soft cloth.