Tag Archives: Clean Your Phone

Clean Your Phone Without Damaging the Screen

By Tracey Dowdy

I think it’s safe to say we’re all a lot more aware of how easily germs and viruses can be transmitted than we were a year ago. As a result, we’re also quicker to sanitize surfaces, and that includes our phones. Some guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control have changed over the past several months as we learn more about the risk of contracting COVID-19 through surface-to-skin contact. We now know that coronavirus can last from hours up to several days on surfaces and objects but has not been shown to survive past seven days. 

There are many ways to clean your phone, including Phone Soap, but if you’re looking for a less expensive option, not all cleaning methods are safe. Follow these guidelines to ensure your phone is sanitized without damaging your screen.


Never use straight alcohol on your phone screen as it can strip the oleophobic and hydrophobic coatings that protect your display and other ports. There are DIY solutions such as creating your own mix of alcohol and water, but if you get the concentration wrong, you’re likely to damage your screen or fail to sanitize the device. Instead, use disinfectant wipes containing 70% isopropyl alcohol or Clorox wipes (Apple initially advised against Clorox or similar wipes on your phone, but they now say it’s okay). Another option is to spray a nonabrasive or alcohol-based (70% isopropyl) disinfectant on a soft lint-free cloth – not directly on the device itself – then wipe down while the device is powered down and unplugged.

Of course, the safest way to clean the screen and remove those greasy fingerprints and smudges is with a microfiber cloth. If it’s particularly dirty, wet the cloth – not the device – even though the latest phones from manufacturers like Apple and Samsung are water-resistant. Others are a mixed bag, with only specific models passing tests. You can also try a Microfiber Screen Cleaner Sticker designed to adhere to the back of devices, so you’re never without a cleaning wipe. 

If you have lint or other debris in the ports, use Scotch tape to lift it out. Lay it along the crevices or roll it up to reach into the charging port. You use a small tool like a toothpick or a micro vacuum tool to remove dirt from hard-to-reach places like the speaker port. 

Avoid using hand sanitizer, glass cleaners, anything with abrasive properties, vinegar, bleach, or any kitchen or household cleansers to disinfect your phone. Paper towels are a no-no as they too can scratch the surface over time, and compressed ait will only drive debris further into the device. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

How to Talk to Your Children About COVID-19

By Tracey Dowdy

The World Health Organization has announced that the Coronavirus (COVID-19)  has been diagnosed in 114 countries, killed more than 4,000 people, and is now officially a pandemic. Even though WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged people not to be fearful because of its status as a pandemic, many parents and children have anxiety about their own health as well as the health of loved ones. 

As parents, it’s important to remember that our children look to us and other adult authority figures such as teachers, coaches, and Scout leaders for guidance on how to respond to such news. These guidelines from The National Association of School Psychologists and National Association of School Nurses can help you navigate those difficult conversations, allay unnecessary fears and keep your children safe through preventive measures. 

Children are constant observers, so remember that your children will react to and follow your reactions – both what you say and what you do. Allow them to share their feelings, show compassion, and remind them that you and their teachers, coaches, and other adults at their school are working to keep them safe and healthy. Unless they have compromised immune systems, even though children may still catch the virus, they’re far less likely to experience symptoms

Be careful in your conversations not to lay blame on specific people, groups, or organizations and as always, avoid stereotyping or bullying language. It’s also a good idea to be mindful of watching or listening to the news when your children are around as the frequent reports on the virus may increase their anxiety. Remind your children that not everything they see online is real, and to always consider the source to determine whether what they read or saw is fact or fiction. 

Try to maintain as much normalcy as safe and possible by sticking to your routines and keeping up with schoolwork, even if there are temporary school closures and distance learning. 

Finally, remember how quickly rumors spread around the school when you were a child and how gullible you often were. Having these conversations is important because often what we imagine is far more frightening than reality. Remind them of basic precautions like washing their hands for at least 20 seconds – the length of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice – or use hand sanitizer if there’s no sink nearby. The virus can live on some surfaces for up to nine days, so remind them to wipe down their tablets and phones or have you do it, and avoid sharing food or drinks with their friends. 

The most important thing for them to hear is that there’s no need to panic, and as always, you’re actively working to keep them safe and healthy.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Phone Sanitizers to Help Avoid COVID-19

By Tracey Dowdy

You already know your phone is nasty dirty. We shouldn’t be surprised – it comes into the bathroom with us getting covered in the spray from “toilet plume,” rests on the seat next to us on the bus, on fast-food counters, on the sidewalk while we tie our shoes, and even our dirty office desks.   

Recent studies have found that the coronavirus, (COVID-19), can survive on some surfaces – including your phone – for up to nine days. We touch our phones frequently with our hands, but we also touch our face with it during a call or listening to media or messages, so naturally, any bacteria, including COVID -19 can be easily transferred to your skin.

But, cheer up Buttercup. You don’t have to fear your handheld bio-hazard, which should be reassuring in our Coronavirus-pandemic filled news cycle. 

Check out this article for phone-cleaning do’s and don’t’s, and if you’re in the market for the simplest way – blasting germs with UV light but don’t want to spend a ton of money, read on. 

There are several products designed to sanitize your phone including PhoneSoap, probably the best known of the lot. The drawback for many is that even its least expensive model, the PhoneSoap 3, sells for $79.95 and won’t ship until April 1.

Lecone UV Cell Phone Sanitizer fits phones up to 6.2 inches and doubles as a charger since ut has a Qi charging pad embedded in its lid. It’s also an essential oil diffuser for no apparent reason related to charging or sanitizing, but if you want your phone to smell lemon-fresh, this is the sanitizer for you. Priced at $39.99, it’s one of the lowest-priced options available. 

HoMedics UV-Clean Phone Sanitizer is $79.99 but you get 10% off if you sign up for emails. It kills up to 99.9% of bacteria and viruses without chemicals, maximizes light coverage for thorough sanitization, fits virtually any smartphone, guarantees up to 70 uses per charge, and comes in three colors. It promises to completely sanitizes your phone in 60 seconds, making it perfect for the germaphobe on the go.  

Phone UV Clean Machine promises to sanitize your phone in six minutes. It’s lightweight, compact, and like the others on this list, uses a USB cable to charge, and can be used to sanitize other small items like makeup brushes, bank cards, glasses, manicure tools, electric toothbrush tops, and jewelry. It’s currently $42.49, but eligible Amazon Prime Members get a $10 bonus if they reload $100 to their Amazon.com Gift Card Balance. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.


Clean Your Smartphone to Avoid COVID-19 and Other Viruses

Our phones are dirty – seven times dirtier than your toilet dirty. That’s nasty. 

And now that the coronavirus (COVID-19), has become a threat to many Americans, it’s important to keep your phone clean. COVID-19 can survive on some surfaces – including your phone – for up to nine days. But that’s not the only germs you should be concerned about.

Your phone goes into the bathroom with you, sits on the table at restaurants, on the seat beside you on the train or bus, so it’s no surprise it’s covered in bacteria – in fact, fecal matter can be found on 1 out of every 6 smartphones. In a separate study, researchers found  that “Mobile phones have become veritable reservoirs of pathogens as they touch faces, ears, lips, and hands of different users of different health conditions.” 

And if you really want to get the heebie-jeebies, a study by the University of Arizona found an average office desk – your smartphone’s home for about 40 hours a week – has hundreds of times more bacteria per square inch than an office toilet seat. Think about it – the office restrooms are cleaned regularly – when was the last time you disinfected your desk, keyboard, mouse, chair…

The good news is that cleaning your phone can be simple and inexpensive but you do need to be careful. Common household cleaners may kill the bacteria, but some may also damage your phone. 


  • Window cleaner, kitchen cleaner, vinegar and rubbing alcohol – Some newer phones have a protective water and oil resistant coating – oleophobic (oil-repellant) and hydrophobic (water-repellent) – that can wear down over time. Never use harsh, abrasive cleaners like Bar Keepers Friend, Windex, or even vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Though they may not scratch the screen, it will certainly erode the protective coating and shorten the device’s lifespan.
  • Paper towels – Even a good quality paper towel can leave debris and scratches on your phone as it shreds while you’re wiping down your device.
  • Compressed air – Though your phone cases may be durable, blowing compressed air into the portals can cause serious damage, especially to your mic. Some phone manufacturers like Apple specifically warn consumers not to use compressed air.
  • Dish soap and hand soap – Because both have to be used with water, and because we know water and electronics are generally a no-no, most manufacturers warn consumers to keep the two far from one another. Even for phones that are water-resistant, though they can be rinsed, water will usually get into the ports meaning you can’t charge until they dry out or you run the risk of frying the electronics. 
  • Disinfectant wipes – Clorox and other disinfectant wipes typically contain alcohol that will strip off the oleophobic (oil-repellant) and hydrophobic (water-repellent) coatings.


  • The safest and most effective way to clean your device’s screen is with a microfiber cloth. If the screen is especially dirty, use distilled water to dampen the microfiber cloth – never pour, squirt, drip, or any other liquid related verb, water directly on the screen. Obviously use the same method for the sides and back of the screen. You can also use
  • Swipe Wipes are microfibre cloths that stick to the back of your phone and remove smudges, fingerprints, germs, and bacteria. 
  • Whoosh Screen Clean Wipes are designed to remove makeup from your phone’s screen. They’re odor-free, antimicrobial, and promise to make phones 99.9% cleaner than 
  • Scotch Tape – Yep – good old Scotch Tape is ideal for removing sand, lint, and grit from the crevices of your device. For the really tiny spaces like speaker holes, use a toothpick or vacuum out the debris with a small crevice tool
  • If you’re really concerned about the number of germs on your device, consider Phone Soap, a UV light that promises to kill up to 99.9% of bacteria. They’re not cheap, but if for individuals with compromised immune systems, in particular, they’re worth it.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.