Tag Archives: Phone Soap

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.

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.