Tips on how to clean the phone to keep germ-free
Photo: Cnet

Though surfaces aren't considered the primary way that the virus transmits or germs, in general, any germ that's on your phone or case can potentially transfer to your fingers and face. Here is tips to prevent germs and get your phone clean.

1. How to clean fingerprint smudges from your screen

Fingerprint smudges are hard to prevent because your skin constantly produces oils. That means that every time you pick up your phone, it's bound to get fingerprints all over it.

The safest and most effective way to clean your screen is with a microfiber cloth. If the screen is in desperate need of cleaning, use distilled water to dampen the microfiber cloth and then wipe down your screen -- avoid squirting the water directly on the screen. This method can be used on the back and sides of your phone, too.

You can also try a microfiber screen cleaner sticker, which you stick to the back of your phone and can pop off when you need to give it a wipe-down.

2. Remove sand and lint with this trick

Lint and sand can get stuck in the small ports of your phone and in the crevices where the screen meets the body.

The best solution for removing sand and lint is Scotch tape. You can lay it along the creases and speaker, and roll it up and gently place it in the ports. The tape's stickiness will pull out any lint or sand that may be stuck in your phone.

For the smaller speaker holes that tape can't reach, use a toothpick or try to vacuum the debris out with a small crevice tool. These tools can also be used for other small appliances or hard-to-reach areas in your car.

3. Disinfect your phone: Wipes, not pure alcohol

If you touch your phone after touching a public door handle or grocery cart, you may immediately think to clean it with rubbing alcohol. Don't. Straight alcohol can strip the oleophobic and hydrophobic coatings that keep oil and water from damaging your display and other ports.

Some websites suggest creating a mix of alcohol and water yourself, but it's crucial to get the concentration right. Get it wrong and you could damage your phone. The safest bet is to use disinfectant wipes that contain 70% isopropyl alcohol to clean your phone screen.

4. Cleaning a Cell Phone Case

1154 phone case
Photo: The Spruce

There's not much benefit to cleaning your cell phone if you are going to reinsert it into a dirty protective case. Whether made from silicone, hard plastic, or leather, most cell phone case models have textured edges to provide a better grip on the phone. Take a look at those edges. They are probably disgusting.

Once the phone has been removed, silicone cases can be completely submerged and washed in a solution of warm water and a bit of dishwashing soap. Use a soft cloth to gently scrub the textured edges. Rinse well and allow to air dry completely before reinserting the phone. For daily cleaning, wipe down the case with a microfiber cloth dampened with the distilled water and rubbing alcohol solution.

For hard plastic cases, remove the phone and wipe down the entire case with the distilled water and alcohol solution on a lint-free cloth. Use a cotton swab dipped in the water/alcohol solution to clean the small button and lens opening areas. Dry with a clean, lint-free cloth and check that the case is completely dry before reinserting the phone.

After removing the phone, leather cases should be cleaned with a saddle soap formulated specifically for leather and then treated with a leather conditioner. Allow the case to dry completely before reinserting the phone.

5. Cleaning Cell Phone Accessories

Use the one-to-one distilled water and 70% isopropyl alcohol solution and a microfiber cloth to wipe down earbuds, chargers, and other cell phone accessories. Remember to mist the cloth lightly–never over-wet–and allow the accessories to air dry completely before using.

6. Allow the Phone to Air Dry

Allow the phone to air dry completely for at least 15 minutes before reinserting it into its case, according to The spruce.

7. Things you should never use to clean your phone

Hand sanitizer

Window cleaner

Kitchen cleaners

Paper towels

Rubbing alcohol

Makeup remover

Compressed air

Dish soap and hand soap

Vinegar

Tips to Keep Your Cell Phone Cleaner and Germ-Free

Clean your cell phone immediately if it comes into contact with anything that might cause stains like make-up, ink, dye or sticky foods.

Wash your hands more often and consider skipping bathroom texting. The cleaner your hands, the cleaner your phone.

Use an antimicrobial cover. They are readily available to fit most phone brands.

Consider investing in a small ultraviolet light sanitizer. There are several on the market that will hold your phone, car keys, and other small items that you use every day. The ultraviolet light kills bacteria without using excessive heat or moisture that could damage electronics.

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