You’ve seen the statistics, but have you seen the evidence? Awhile back, Buzzfeed kept a lively bunch of Petri dishes colonized with the same bacteria found on the smartphones of several colleagues. The unfortunate discovery was that there were actual pathogens found on the phones; essentially, potentially disease-causing strains of bacteria.
Whether you’re a germaphobe, or someone who doesn’t mind a bit of rolling around in the dirt, surely we can all agree that anything that can potentially cause disease is bad news. There are some quick things you can do to keep your Android devices clean and disinfected, however, and free of what could be harmful to your health.
Make a cleaning kit
You have a kit for all your various USB charging cables and gadgets that plug into your Android device, so why not make a kit for cleaning your smartphone? At home, stock up on 70% or higher rubbing alcohol, finely pointed cotton swabs, and a barrel of toothpicks. You can also grab a pack of microfiber cloths for less than $ 5 on Amazon, as well as a few cans of compressed air for less than $ 15.
Why not make a kit for cleaning your smartphone?
You’ll also want some sort of cleaning solution that will disinfect the phone.You can make your own cleaning solution with 8 ounces of rubbing alcohol and 8 ounces of distilled water inside a spray bottle. A 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and distilled water also works if you’re into keeping things relatively organic and don’t mind the intense smell of the vinegar.
If you aren’t about the DIY life, there are lens and screen kits on Amazon for $ 11 that should last you quite a while. Personally, this is the route I go.
How to clean your Android phone
Every Android phone is different, but cleaning it is generally the same as cleaning any other mobile phone. There are ports, buttons, a screen, and an entire chassis that could all use a bit of a rubdown with some grime-cleaning solution.
Be careful not to puncture any speakers or wriggle any ports.
Grab a large, clean microfiber cloth or soft towel and lay it out. Or, you can quickly wipe over a substantial bit of table area with a winged out soapy sponge or towel. Just making sure the “operating” area is clean. Then, lay the phone down. Grab the can of compressed air and start blowing out the charging port, ensuring that whatever little particles are in there are flying up and out. (If you have trouble seeing, use the aid of a desk lamp and take off the shade for more light.) You can pump air into the rear speakers to clear them out, as dirt and gross particles also collect there.
If you see that there’s too much grossness to clear out with just the compressed air, grab a fine toothpick and carefully dig out the grime that’s causing you stress. Be careful not to puncture any speakers or wriggle any ports. If you see debris collecting elsewhere on the phone — like in the cracks around the frame, and in the top speaker grill — you can clear those out with a toothpick, too.
Now that you’ve primed the device for disinfecting, grab your cleaning solution. Take a cotton swab and dip it inside the bottle of rubbing alcohol. Trace it around the edges, the buttons, and any other crevices of the chassis that require cleaning, but take heed not to use them inside ports or speaker grilles. Wipe it all off with the microfiber cloth when you’re finished. This is very important — do not ever put alcohol or vinegar on the glass parts of your phone. This is especially true of the front glass on your phone. This glass has a special oleophobic layer designed to make fingerprints easier to clean away. These cleaning solutions, while great for the metal or plastic parts of the phone, will cause that special layer to dissolve much faster than it would through normal daily use.
Cleaning on the go
For a quicker cleaning experience, a pre-moistened cleaning cloth is just as apt at cleaning your smartphone as the multi-tool cleaning process. Grab a brand like these Wireless Wipes, which smell nice and clean your device. Sephora also offers a batch of stylishly-packed screen cleansing towelettes for those who like a little flair with their cleaning supplies. Just make sure whatever you are using has a low or zero alcohol percentage to keep your display safe.
A pre-moistened cleaning cloth is just as apt at cleaning your smartphone.
Also, consider using hand sanitizer between meals and before touching your phone. Most of this grime comes from your fingers and pockets, remember! A little can go a long way, and I’ve often found that something as simple as a travel bottle of Purell hand sanitizer can work miracles at removing dirt from the fingers.
What are your methods for keeping your phone and other gadgets clean and germ-free? Let us know!
Updated April 2018: This article has been updated with new and improved tips for keeping your phone clean in every situation!