We’re all trying to wash our hands more thoroughly at the moment, but doing so will have limited benefits unless we treat our smartphones with as much care too. So what’s the best way to clean your phone correctly without, of course, causing any damage to it?
In light of the current pandemic, medical advice is to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, especially after returning home from a rare trip outside, and before and after eating or preparing food.
But since most of us are touching our phones all the time, it’s also essential to keep your mobile devices as clean as possible to avoid spreading viruses. Medical experts advise you to clean your phones once a day − but since smartphones are delicate devices, how can you clean yours thoroughly without doing any damage?
Follow our guide, below, for the best advice; and always remember to unplug your devices and switch them off before cleaning them with water.
Be careful with disinfectant wipes or spray
Disinfectant wipes weren’t intended to be used on gadgets, and general advice was against using them altogether, as they were believed to be particularly damaging to the moisture-repellent (oleophobic) coating on phone screens.
But Apple recently updated its advice to say that you can use disinfectant wipes or spray, announcing that “you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces”.
We’d still be cautious about using a disinfectant on your smartphone, especially if it’s not an Apple product. If you are set on using a disinfectant spray, at the very least do not apply it directly to the phone − spray a cloth first, and then apply.
And remember not to use excessive amounts and to wipe gently.
Don’t immerse your phone underwater
Many top-end phones come with impressive IP ratings that would lead you to believe they could withstand any amount of water.
But take note; the IP rating is a guideline, not a guarantee. It’s never advisable to dunk your phone underwater, and the manufacturer is not liable to replace or repair devices that have been damaged in this manner.
Beyond that, try to avoid getting water near obviously vulnerable spots, such as USB ports or the headphone jack.
Related: Waterproof IP ratings explained
Use a microfibre cloth
Regularly wiping your phone gently with a slightly damp microfibre cloth is advised, for not only does this get rid of obvious dirt and particulates, but it can also cleanse your phone of microorganisms.
Importantly, this will not threaten the oleophobic coating of your smartphone screen either. If there are more stubborn stains, you can apply household soap to the cloth before wiping the screen. Again, remember to avoid vulnerable ports when using water to clean.
Once you’ve cleaned the surfaces of the phone in this manner, wipe it over with a clean microfibre cloth to dry off your device. After that’s done, you can simply wash the cloths so they’ll be ready for the next use.