mobile phone cleaning

How (and Why) to Keep your Mobile Phone Clean

Your phone is filthy. That isn’t an indictment against you. It’s inevitable.

Your phone spends a good part of its working life in your hands and near your mouth. Hardly the best places to be if you want it to stop re-infecting you with the flu every 3 weeks – after all, the NHS advises us to every so often disinfect any surface we touch regularly to avoid illness.

But you’ll need to be careful when it comes to scrubbing down your phone. Phones – and smartphones in particular – are difficult devices to clean; their components are uniquely fragile and can be ruined by a single wrong move. The advice below covers cleaning smartphones and even more traditional devices; if you don’t quite find what you need, however, a number of housekeeping websites offer cleaning tips for various electronics as well.

To do the job properly, you’ll need a couple of soft cloths and a can of compressed air. If you want to give your screen a proper cleaning, you can wipe it lightly with a mild vinegar solution (around 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water). However, you should never use liquid to clean the inside of your phone – even small amounts of water in the wrong place can ruin a device if you’re unlucky.

If you still have an old-fashioned mobile with an actual keypad, cleaning it will be a lot easier.

  1. Remove the rear casing, take out the battery, and remove the front casing and keyboard.
  2. You’ll now be able to see the spaces between the keys, and the area beneath your keypad.
  3. Blast the keys, the battery cavity, and the edges and ports of your phone with your compressed air. This will remove all but the most stubborn dirt.
  4. Gently but firmly wipe down any areas that are still dirty with your soft cloth.
  5. Moisten the edge of your cloth with your vinegar solution and lightly wipe down the screen.
  6. Reassemble.

(Remember, if any part of your phone has gotten wet in the cleaning process, allow it to dry out before reassembly – and especially before you switch it on.)

Smartphones can be a little trickier to deal with, as removing the battery is often impossible. With the cleaning tips below, however, it is possible to give them a thorough tidying up while ensuring you don’t damage anything.

  • The areas most prone to dust and grime collection on smartphones are the ports and connector sockets. If you let these become too dirty, they’ll stop working, and may even cause your phone to overheat. Fortunately, you can clean them all fairly easily using your trusty compressed air can.
  • If you’re able to remove the battery beforehand – do so. You’re less likely to damage your phone if you clean it while it’s completely turned off and has no power source attached to it.
  • For more stubborn dirt in these areas, use either a soft-bristled toothbrush or a cotton bud, but remember to be gentle – if you go at it too vigorously you could ruin the port’s connectors.
  • Clean the screen with your diluted vinegar solution, as outlined above for a non-smart mobile. But remember to use as little liquid as you can in the process to avoid damaging anything important!


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