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How to clean your phone properly

We’re all trying to wash our hands more thoroughly at the moment – but don’t forget to keep your smartphone in god hygiene too. So what’s the best way to clean your phone correctly without, of course, causing any damage to it?

Due to the current pandemic, the medical advice is to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, most especially after returning home from a rare trip outside, and before and after eating or preparing food.

Since a lot of us touch our phones almost constantly, it’s also essential to keep your mobile devices as clean as possible to avoid spreading viruses. Medical experts advise you to make sure to clean your phones once a day − but as smartphones are obviously delicate devices, how can you clean yours thoroughly without accidentally causing damage?

Follow our guide, below, for the best advice; and always remember to unplug your devices and switch them off before cleaning them with water.

Be careful with disinfectant wipes or spray

Disinfectant wipes were not designed to be used on tech gadgets, and the general advice was against using them altogether, as they were believed to be potentially damaging to the moisture-repellent (oleophobic) coating that you find on phone screens.

However, Apple recently updated its advice to say that you can use disinfectant wipes or spray, specifying that “you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces”.

We would still err on the side of caution when it comes to using a disinfectant on your smartphone, especially if it’s not an Apple product. But if you are determined to use a disinfectant spray, at the very least do not apply it directly to the phone − spray a cloth first, and then apply. Remember not to use excessive amounts, and to wipe gently.

Don’t immerse your phone underwater

Many premium phones come with impressive IP ratings that might lead you to believe they could withstand any amount of water, up to and including total immersion.

But always remember: the IP rating is a guideline and not by any means a guarantee in itself. It’s never advisable to dunk your phone underwater, and the manufacturer is not liable to replace or repair devices that have been damaged in this manner of usage.

Beyond that, just try to avoid getting water near obviously vulnerable spots, such as USB ports or the headphone jack when you dab your phone with a damp cloth.

Related: Waterproof IP ratings explained

Use a microfibre cloth

Regularly wiping your phone gently with a slightly damp microfibre cloth is advised, as not only does this get rid of obvious dirt and particulates, but it can also cleanse your phone of microorganisms.

Importantly, this method will not threaten the oleophobic coating of your smartphone screen either. If there are more stubborn stains, you can apply household soap to the cloth before wiping the screen – but again, remember to avoid vulnerable ports when using water to clean.

Once you’ve cleaned the surfaces of the phone like this, simply wipe it over with a fresh microfibre cloth to dry off your device. Then wash the cloths so they’ll be ready for the next use.

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