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Do’s and don’ts for cleaning your dirty iPhone (and why you should make it a habit)

Studies have found our smartphones are usually dirtier than a toilet seat, carrying tens of thousands of bacteria, so creating a habit of regularly cleaning your iPhone is a healthy move. But what’s safe or best to use? Let’s look at how to clean iPhone with step-by-step do’s and don’ts.

For many years, Apple didn’t mention using alcohol or Clorox wipes on iPhone but starting in 2020, it shared that they both are ok to use (with a minor downside explained below).

Along with regularly cleaning your iPhone, giving up using it while on the toilet is an easy way to keep it considerably cleaner.

How to clean iPhone

iPhone cleaning DON’Ts

  • Don’t use cleaning sprays (no bleach, no hydrogen peroxide, etc.)
  • Don’t use compressed air
  • Don’t leave cables plugged into your iPhone (when cleaning)
  • Don’t submerge or spray cleaning products into iPhone openings

Best items to clean iPhone

  • Clean microfiber cloth or similar
  • 70% isopropyl alcohol or 75% ethyl alcohol
    • Spray on your cloth first, not on your iPhone
  • Clorox wipe or similar (no bleach)
  • Blu Tack
  • Flosser pick

Steps to clean your iPhone

  1. Apple says to power off your iPhone before cleaning it
  2. Make sure it’s also unplugged from cables or accessories
  3. Wipe down your iPhone with a clean microfiber cloth
    • Slightly dampen your cloth with water if needed
  4. To disinfect iPhone, use a Clorox wipe or 70% isopropyl/ethyl alcohol on your cloth and wipe down your device
  5. Gently use a flosser pick to break up and remove tough-to-reach spots – make sure to not poke at or through the grilles, mics, or other important components
  6. Blue Tack is another great way to remove dirt and gunk from speaker grilles, etc.
How to clean iPhone 1
Bubbles for illustrative purposes only 😁

Caveat to Clorox wipes and alcohol

The one downside to using Clorox wipes or alcohol wipes on your iPhone is Apple says it can wear away the oleophobic coating (fingerprint resistance).

An easy solution here is popping a screen protector on to keep cleaning wipes from damaging the screen coating on your iPhone.

There are lots of affordable glass screen protectors for iPhone between $8-$30, and if you haven’t tried one in a while, they’re quite easy to install anymore.

UV smartphone cleaners

PhoneSoap is probably the most popular brand when it comes to sanitizing your iPhone with UV light.

How to clean iPhone 2

Top comment by Eric

Liked by 2 people

First off, the normal kitchen sponge probably is the most bacteria laden article in your home and microwaving it or boiling it in water doesn’t kill all bacteria but simply selects for the most resistant bacteria to remain and multiply. Let’s assume you use Photosoap, how long do you think it takes for the bacteria from your hands which touch public railings, toilet seats, sponges, keyboards, iPads, door knobs, escalator handles, elevator buttons, tissues when you sneeze, etc to massively multiply on your just Phonesoaped iPhone? A few minutes, a half an hour? Now ask yourself how many times have you heard of people getting ill because of their iPhone? My phone, iPad screen and computer keyboard do gross me out when I think about it but I’m not sure how much we can do about it.

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The company uses 360-degree UV-C bulbs to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses with the company saying the results are clinically proven. This portable smartphone sanitizer also charges your device while it’s being cleaned (features both a USB-C and USB-A port).

PhoneSoap 3 typically sells for $59 with PhoneSoap Pro going for $119. The company also has its larger HomeSoap product that cleans a wide variety of items.

More UV sanitizer options include solid products from mophie and totallee.

Thanks for reading our guide on how to clean iPhone!

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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.