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How to properly clean your phone without destroying the screen



phone screen

Make sure to clean your phone properly.

Derek Poore / CNET

Whether your phone screen has gotten grubby from everyday use or you̵

7;re worried about spreading it coronavirus through objects and shared common spaces, it’s time to talk again about the right and wrong ways to clean your phone screen. Some of the guidelines have changed over the past year due to fears of contracting COVID-19, such as touching a door handle or ATM buttons and then touching your phone (or your face).

Although surfaces are not considered the primary way in which the coronavirus is transmittedIn general, any germ that’s on your phone or case can potentially be transferred to your body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PDF), the coronavirus can last for hours to several days on surfaces and objects. The CDC also says that COVID-19 cannot survive for more than seven days.

Cleaning your phone more often is a good idea anyway, but what’s the right way to get rid of the dirt without damaging your device? Read on for our tips on the best ways to disinfect your phone and remove fingerprints, sand and lint from the ports and makeup from the screen (hint: never with makeup remover). We’ll also tell you which cleaning products to avoid and how to care for phones rated for water resistance.

Disinfect your phone: wipes, not pure alcohol

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

Some websites recommend making your own mix of alcohol and water, but getting the concentration right is crucial. Getting it wrong can damage your phone. The safest bet is to use disinfectant wipes containing 70% isopropyl alcohol to clean your phone screen.

springclean

Drop the window cleaner and counter spray now.

Derek Poore / CNET

Before the pandemic, we were instructed not to use disinfectant wipes on our phone screens, but Apple says it’s okay to use Clorox Wipes and others with similar concentrations.

AT & T’s cleaning guidelines suggest that you “spray a non-abrasive or alcohol-based (70% isopropyl) disinfectant directly onto a soft, lint-free cloth and wipe your device with it turned off and unplugged.” Samsung also said you can make an alcohol-based solution of 70% ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, applied with a microfiber cloth.

Another option for daily cleaning is investing in a UV lamp, such as PhoneSoap. This UV light company claims to kill 99.99% of germs and banish bacteria. As far as we know, it has not been tested in relation to this form of coronavirus.

Remove fingerprint stains from your screen

Fingerprint stains are difficult to prevent because your skin is constantly producing oils. That means that every time you pick up your phone, it will get fingerprints all over it.

The safest and most effective way to clean your screen is with a microfiber cloth. If the screen needs to be cleaned urgently, use distilled water to moisten the microfiber cloth and then wipe your screen – avoid spraying the water directly on the screen. This method can also be used on the back and sides of your phone.

You can also try a microfiber screen cleaning sticker, which you stick to the back of your phone and let go when you need to erase it.

Also check out Samsung’s tips for cleaning your phone.


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dirty phone screen

Get rid of your fingerprint stains and other grime with these cleaning tips.

warat42 / iStockphoto

Remove sand and lint with this trick

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

The best solution for removing sand and lint is adhesive tape. You can lay it along the folds and speaker, roll it up and gently insert it into the ports. The stickiness of the tape will remove any lint or sand from the phone.

For the smaller speaker holes that tape can’t reach, use a toothpick (careful) or try sucking up the dirt with a small crevice tool. This tool can also be used for other small appliances or hard-to-reach places in your car.

Remove make-up safely

If you have a full face with makeup and need to make a phone call, guess what that foundation sticks to? That’s right, your phone screen. And while you can use makeup remover every night to remove your makeup, you shouldn’t use it as a screen cleaner because of some of the chemicals that can lurk in the ingredients. Organics.org explains the chemicals that can be in your makeup remover.

Instead, you can give your phone its own makeup remover like Whoosh. The company claims it is safe for all screens and contains no alcohol, chlorine, ammonia or phosphates that can damage the various screen coatings.

You can also use a damp microfiber cloth to clean it – then throw that cloth in the wash. Make sure to use a spray bottle to spritz the cloth, rather than running it under water. The less water the better.

Can you wash waterproof phones?

If you have a water resistant phone, suitable for IP67 and above, you can rinse it off with water. Although these phones, just like the iPhone 7 ($ 550 at Boost Mobile) and newer and the Galaxy S phones, can withstand submersion for up to 30 minutes in up to 1 meter of water, it’s a much better idea to use a damp or wet cloth to clean your phone. Then dry your phone with a dry soft cloth to remove the water. Make sure to dry all speakers and ports.

If you submerge the phone in water or run it under the tap, water will get into the ports, which means you won’t be able to charge it until they are dry, which may take a while. Remember, having a water-resistant phone is more about peace of mind than intentionally taking your phone with you.

317 galaxy fold

If you’re calling while wearing makeup, guess what you’re getting on your phone.

Sarah Tew / CNET

9 Things You Should Never Use To Clean Your Phone

We’re not here to be ashamed, but drop that bottle of Windex, stat. This is how you don’t clean your screen.

Hand cleanser

Since some hand sanitizers contain ingredients such as fragrances and ethyl alcohol, keep them off the screen of your phone. However, if you’ve touched anything outside of your home, make sure to clean your hands before touching your phone to prevent viruses and bacteria from spreading. For best results, use a hand sanitizer from the manufacturer instead of making your own (they are not that effective).

Window cleaner

You clean your mirrors and windows with window cleaner and they are spotlessly clean so it should be okay to use on your phone? Wrong! Some newer phones, such as the iPhone XR ($ 749 at Amazon), have a protective coating that is resistant to water and oil, which can wear off over time.

Using harsh cleaners can remove the coating and make your phone more vulnerable to scratches. James LeBeau, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at MIT, told us that any cleaner with an abrasive is likely to scratch the surface, so those should be avoided completely.


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Kitchen cleaners

The scratch-resistant properties of a display are not buffed away by cleaning agents, but stripping that protective coating is still a problem. That’s why Apple also recommends that you don’t use any household cleaners to clean your iPhone, including bleach. Bar Keepers Friend, for example, states that the abrasive formula can damage the protective layer. Bon Ami says not to use on glass with coatings.

Paper towels

They may be the place to clean your desk, but keep them away from your phone. The paper can shred, making the dirt on your phone that much worse. Paper towels can even scratch your screen.

Cleaning alcohol

Since many newer phones have a protective coating, rubbing alcohol can remove it more quickly over time, making your phone more prone to scratches. Check for alcohol in the product ingredients on ‘safe to use’ phone screen cleaners. Apple says it avoids alcohol when cleaning its devices.

Makeup remover

Some makeup removers may contain chemicals that can harm an electronic screen. LeBeau recommends avoiding makeup remover and using a soft cloth with a little water instead.

Compressed air

Your phone is fragile so blowing an intense amount of air into the portals can cause damage, especially to your microphone. Technology companies, such as Apple, specifically warn against using compressed air.

Dish soap and hand soap

While you dish and hand soaps may be careful, the only way to use them is to combine them with water. Most phone companies recommend keeping water away from your phone, so stick with a damp cloth.

Vinegar

This is a no-no. Vinegar removes the coating from the screen. As Lifehacker suggests, you can use very dilute vinegar to clean other parts of your phone. Android Central suggests a 50/50 mix with distilled water to clean the sides and back.


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