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How to Clean Your iPhone, iPad and Android



Here’s a fact of life that all mobile tech owners must deal with at some point in their lives: your phone and tablet are filthy. This is true whether you’re an iFanboy or a Fandroid or addicted to your CrackBerry. Bacteria has no allegiances.

Beyond the invisible stuff, there are also smudges, oils, and other more visible dirt. It’s easy to keep your phone or tablet clean on a daily basis and possible to make it less gross over time.

The most important thing to know about cleaning your devices is to NOT use any common household cleaners to do so. All of these contain solvents that will damage your phone and erode the protective coating on some parts.

And yes, that means WD40 on your iPhone Home button. Just don’t do it!

You don’t even need liquid for most regular cleaning. But, when you do, water or isopropyl alcohol will do. Before you start, remove cases and covers. If you’re using liquids, turn the device off and, if possible, remove the battery.

Dry Cleaning

Toddy Cloth

To wipe smudges and oil from your screen or other parts of your phone, use a microfiber cloth. One usually comes with a device, and they’re easy to buy in electronics stores and even drug/convenience stores. Just look near the glasses.

I suggest the Toddy cloth because it’s the best I’ve found for dry cleaning. Use the soft side to wipe away oil then the silky side to clear away smudges.

When cleaning the screen, do not press down too hard or you may scratch the surface. A light touch should be all you need.

Wet Cleaning


For devices that require something extra to remove dirt and other foreign substances, it’s okay to wipe with a slightly damp microfiber cloth or cotton swab like a Q-tip. Some experts suggest using distilled water to avoid the residues found in tap water.

If you do this, just be sure the cloth or cotton is only a little damp. You don’t want water getting into the phone or tablet.

Wipe down from the earpiece to the bottom on phones — this will keep you from getting stuff into the earpiece.

To get at small areas such as the earpiece, use a cotton swab. Dry will usually do it, but if you need it wet, use as little water as possible.

Disinfecting A Phone or Tablet

Cleaning with water isn’t going to remove many germs, and given that our phones are supposedly dirtier than toilet handles, many people want to clean them as thoroughly as possible.

However, manufacturers suggest using only water because household cleaners contain solvents. Many sites suggest using the highest concentration of isopropyl/rubbing alcohol you can find. Alcohol is still a solvent, though.


My suggestion is this: clean your phone or tablet’s outsides with isopropyl alcohol just once, then put a screen protector on. Then you can clean this with alcohol as much as you want without damaging your phone and keeping bacteria at bay.

To clean with alcohol, use a cotton swab (again, not too damp) to wipe the screen, keyboard (if applicable), and other parts of the phone. Wipe with a microfiber cloth after if necessary.

Apply the screen protector after the display is completely

Clean the Case

iPhone 4 Bumper Case

When cleaning your phone or tablet, don’t forget to clean your case as well. You can wipe these down with a damp cloth or a little alcohol as well if it is made from rubber or silicone or a similar substance.

Make sure it’s completely dry before putting it back on your device.

To clean leather cases use a leather cleaner or follow manufacturer instructions.

Keep an eye on the blog for more spring cleaning posts. Get everything clean from your Home screen to your Gmail contacts.



  1. Matt

    04/24/2012 at 2:32 pm

    Never use chemicals on your iPad or any electronic devices, the chemical will strip away the protective coating and will ultimately damage your screen. Instead use a microfiber cleaning cloth like the ones sold at and slightly wet it and wipe your iPad screen clean. Make sure that the cloth is only damp and not wet. This is the best way to clean your iPad.

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