A men cleaning his phone with a wipe

How to clean your phone

04 Dec 2022


We’ve all been alerted to the importance of cleaning our phones. That’s because germs can live on surfaces for a lot longer than most viruses or bacteria.

Coupled with research that states the average person touches their phone 2,617 times a day1, the case for disinfecting yours is a strong one. But how can you keep your phone clean without damaging it?

The easiest ways to clean your phone

From ultraviolet zaps to specially formulated sanitisers, there are many ways to keep your phone germ-free. That said, the simplest methods are often the most effective. That’s why many experts advocate soap and water2. However, this depends entirely on the make and model of your phone, and you should always check your manufacturer’s guidelines first.

Below are a few tips and instructions for cleaning your phone. Always make sure you unplug from any power sources before starting.

Using soap and water to clean your phone

  1. Fill a small bowl with warm soapy water – use everyday domestic soap
  2. Dampen (don’t soak) a non-abrasive cloth and gently rub your phone
  3. Rub each side of your phone, making sure not to get it wet
  4. Wipe with minimal force, then gently rub dry with a cloth
  5. If your phone looks smeared or dull, gently polish it with a lint-free cloth

Important: do not submerge your phone in water – even if it’s waterproof. If your phone isn’t waterproof, you could damage it beyond repair.

Using antibacterial wipes

Another option if your phone is susceptible to water damage is to use antibacterial wipes. Apple actually recommends 70% using isopropyl alcohol wipes3.
  1. Check with your manufacturer if you can use antibacterial wipes, like the ones you’d use on your hands.
  2. Wipe your phone up and down or in small gentle circles.
  3. Dry your phone with a clean lint-free or non-abrasive cloth.

What to avoid when cleaning your phone

Avoid harsh chemicals or strong cleaning products like bleach when cleaning your phone as these can cause discolouration or erode your screen. Whatever method you use, be careful not to invalidate your phone’s guarantee.

How often should I clean my phone?

The short answer is as often as you can, but in reality, a few times a day is suitable. You’re most at risk of cross-contamination if you’re close to someone who is sneezing or coughing. This is because droplets can live on surfaces like glass – i.e. most phone screens – for up to 96 hours4.

There’s no hard or fast rule with the number of times you should clean your phone. Just use your common sense – especially if you’ve been touching surfaces in public like traffic light buttons, where COVID-19 (AKA SARS-CoV-2) may live.

Remember, this virus can also live on hard surfaces for days at a time, including your desk. Whether you’re working from home or still in the office, read our guide on desk hygiene to protect yourself.

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Last updated: 02 November 2020

  1. https://blog.dscout.com/mobile-touches
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324570
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-to-clean-your-phone-during-outbreak