How to Clean Your Phone: Safe Solutions for You and the Environment

Our phones are a major part of who we are and what we do. We answer emails and text messages on them, constantly. We talk with family, friends, and clients over the phone, daily. Also, games are fun to play when we’re in the bathroom or waiting to board a plane. They go everywhere with us. From the moment we wake up until we go to bed, we have our phones with us. Take a moment to think about how many germs must be on our phones. Germs from the bathroom, germs from your office, and germs from your car. Luckily, I can teach you how to clean your phone. From wiping fingerprints to disinfecting, there are safe ways to clean your phone. Safe for you and for the environment! Let’s not waste any time, then. Here are easy and safe ways to clean your phone.

Why It's Important to Clean Your Phone

As I said before, we take our phones everywhere. Personally, my phone comes into the bathroom with me while I get ready for the day. Then, it stays in my pocket while I walk to work. Next, it spends time on tables and by dirty dishes. Lastly, it comes back home with me and stays by my side while I’m on the computer, watching television, and cooking. All of those places have different kinds of germs that are bound to end up on your phone. There’s about 25,000 germs per square inch of your phone. That means that every square inch has thousands and thousands of germs. Toilets have 1,201 germs per square inch. A kitchen counter has 1,700 germs per square inch. Also, a public check out screen has 4,500 germs per square inch. All of these things are cleaner than our cell phones are.  

Why Are Our Phones So Dirty?

There are a lot of reasons why. First, we don’t think to sanitize our phones as often as we should. We clean our offices and homes. However, our phones don’t make the cleaning list. Second, our hands transfer germs to our phones, constantly. Think about it. We touch hundreds of different objects a day. The germs that are on those objects get onto our hands. Then, our hands touch our phones to answer a text message or email. It’s impossible not to transfer germs from our hands to our phones. Third, we put our mouth close to the phone, daily. Our saliva gets on the phone and we don’t think to clean it off. If someone else uses your phone, then their saliva will also get on the phone. Lastly, earwax can get on your phone when you’re using it. All these little things add up to one, germy phone.  

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How to Clean Your Phone

You don’t need much to clean your phone. Mainly, you need common household items. These methods are environmentally safe. Also, they won’t hurt you when you use your phone, afterwards.

Water and a Microfiber Cloth

This is an extremely safe way to clean your phone. There aren’t any chemicals needed. First, you dampen a microfiber cloth with water. You can either dampen a corner or a full cloth. If you choose to dampen a full cloth, then make sure you have another cloth that’s dry. Also, most phones don’t need a big cloth to clean them. Next, wipe the phone screen and backing down. Make sure not to use too much water because water can damage your phone. Once you’ve wiped the phone down, then you can dry the water off. If you don’t have a microfiber cloth, then you can use a lint-free cloth. This is an easy and environmentally safe method. Everything you use is reusable or doesn’t need to be thrown away. Also, you don’t need a lot of water. Therefore, water isn’t wasted cleaning your phone this way.

Cotton Swab or Toothpick

Cotton swabs are great for cleaning the hard to reach places. However, they aren’t reusable. Therefore, the cotton swabs could end up in landfills when they’re thrown out. Also, toothpicks can help you remove built up gunk in your charging or headphone port. Be careful if you choose to use a toothpick. The sharper edge of the toothpick could scrape your charging port and hurt your phone. Also, toothpicks might end up in a landfill when thrown out.  

Household Soap and a Cloth

Much like using water, this method uses soap and water. Simply dampen a soft cloth with the soap. Then, rub it over your phone’s screen and backing. Next, dry the phone with the dry corner of the cloth or with another cloth. Make sure not to let the soap and water sit on your phone too long. Everything you use to clean your phone with this method is reusable or benign. These things won’t hurt the environment and are safe for you to use.

Water and Rubbing Alcohol 

First, mix 60% water and 40% rubbing alcohol. Next, dampen a cloth with the mixture. Be careful using rubbing alcohol. If too much rubbing alcohol sits on your phone, then it can damage your phone. Once the phone has been wiped down, you should dry it with the dry portion of the cloth or another cloth. This method is safe for you to use because it uses common household items. Also, the rubbing alcohol won’t end up in the environment because you will simply wash it out of the cloth.

Distilled Water and White Vinegar

Once again, you can use common household items to clean your phone. This method uses a 50/50 mixture of distilled water and white vinegar. After the mixture is made, you simply dampen a cloth with it. Then, wipe down the phone and dry it with a dry cloth. Again, these are safe items for you and the environment. Also, you don’t have to throw away the cloth because the vinegar will wash right out.

Why Not to Use Antibacterial Wipes

I’m not going to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. What I will tell you is that antibacterial wipes are less environmentally friendly than using a cloth and liquid mixture. Antibacterial wipes are used once and then thrown away. Those wipes end up in landfills and aren’t biodegradable. However, they are convenient to use and disinfect well. Overall, a reusable cloth and liquid mixture is safer for the environment because they don’t need to be thrown away.

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Important Tips for Cleaning Your Phone

Learning how to clean your phone is easy. There are some tips that will help you keep yourself and your phone safe.

  1. Don’t spray chemicals or water directly onto your phone. The spray is unpredictable and could end up somewhere you don’t want it to.
  2. Don’t leave any type of liquid on your phone for too long. Phones and liquids just don’t mesh well.
  3. Clean your cell phone case separately. The back of your phone won’t be cleaned if there’s a case over it.
  4. Don’t use paper towels, toilet paper, etc. They can scratch up your phone and might leave residue in hard to reach places. In fact, Apple warns against cleaning your phone with anything but a microfiber cloth.

These methods can be used to clean landlines or work phones, as well.

Important Tips to Keep Your Phone Away From Germs

Our phones are basically just germ magnets. It’s impossible to protect your phone against germs. Therefore, here are a few tips that can help you limit the germs that are getting on your phone.

  1. Keep your phone away from any type of toilet area. Store your phone in your pocket or purse. This will prevent toilet back-splash and flushing residue from getting on your phone. Also, if you choose to put your phone in your pocket, then use your front pocket. Phones fall out of back pockets and into toilets. Trust me.
  2. Use an Antimicrobial cover. It’s a cover that protects your phone screen against germs.
  3. Get yourself a PhoneSoap 2.0. It kills bacteria within 10 minutes and charges your phone!
  4. Clean your phone immediately after coming in contact with something gross. That means toilets, dirty dishes, runny noses, etc. In fact, clean your phone monthly, or even weekly.


In conclusion, your phone is probably disgusting and needs to be cleaned. There are so many easy and safe ways to clean your phone. Learning how to clean your phone isn’t the hard part. The hard part is remembering to clean your phone. Or, that your phone even has germs. Reusable items are the most environmentally safe way to clean your phone. Also, using household items to clean your phone ensures that it’s safe for you to use afterwards. Do yourself a favor and add “clean my phone” to your weekend to-do list. I promise, your phone needs it.  

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Bailey Longhurst

I am amazed every day by the beauty that this world provides for us and think it is important to preserve it! Taking care of ourselves and our earth is crucial and I want to help people discover new ways to do both. Publishing for Green and Growing is a unique way that I can get my message across, and I hope you all enjoy what we write about!

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