Tips and Tools for a Sparkling Clean Smartphone

By Sarah Terry


Your smartphone screen is likely a gross gallery of smudges and fingerprints, but it’s what you don’t see that you should worry about cleaning. Phones play host to a plethora of germs and because you handle your smartphone all day long, you’re touching all kinds of bacteria, viruses and other hazardous substances constantly.

Unlike many household surfaces, your smartphone takes some special care when cleaning it. Don’t try to clean your smartphone using household chemicals like glass cleaners, bleach or other corrosive solutions. Also, don’t attempt to wipe the screen using a paper towel or napkin — these will scratch the delicate screen.

The RIGHT Way to Clean Your Phone

To clean your smartphone and its screen without breaking it, remove the battery or turn off the device first. Then, follow these steps:

1. Fill a small spray bottle with distilled water. You can also use a mixture of one-part distilled water and one-part white vinegar or rubbing alcohol (isopropyl).

2. Wipe the screen gently with a dry microfiber cloth, making small circular motions. Don’t press hard on the screen.

3. Wet the microfiber cloth slightly by spraying it with the distilled water or mixture. Wipe the screen gently again with the damp cloth, using the same small, circular motions.

4. Wipe the rest of the smartphone’s flat surfaces with the damp microfiber cloth as well. If you have a hard-plastic case for your smartphone, you can clean it in the same way.

5. Allow the smartphone’s surfaces to dry completely before replacing the battery and turning it back on.

Camera Cleaning Tip

To clean your smartphone’s camera lens, dampen one end of a cotton swab with distilled water and clean the lens using a spinning motion. Then, take the other, dry end of the cotton swab and immediately dry the lens.

Cleaning Cloths & Kits

If you want to clean your smartphone expertly, you can use a pre-made cleaning kit. Most kits are inexpensive and contain specially-made cloths or solutions for touch screens.

Keep mobile cloth first, but the others can shuffle around if needed.


$2.99-$13.99,  Hartigan Industries Inc.   (5 stars)

MOBiLE CLOTH is a high-tech material made of split micro fibers that are 100 times thinner than a human hair. This cloth can remove up to 93 percent of viruses and 98 percent of bacteria from your smartphone’s surfaces. You simply wet the cloth with water or use it dry to remove not only germs, but also fingerprints, smudges and dirt. The cloth won’t leave a scratch, even on the delicate screen. In addition to mobile devices, the cloths are safe to use on camera lenses and optics.

Q:Electronics iPhone Smartphone Screen Cleaning Kit

$19.99,  HandStands   (5 stars)

The Q:Electronics iPhone Smartphone Screen Cleaning Kit includes an unique triangle-shaped dispenser that applies a gentle cleaning solution. Like a large marker, the dispenser is easy to apply and avoids drips. The kit also includes a microfiber cloth to dry the screen and clean away any streaks or smudges. After the dispensed cleaning solution and cloth remove dust, germs, smudges and fingerprints, the solution adds an anti-static coating to your smartphone screen.

iKlear Complete Cleaning Kit

$24.95,   Klear Screen   (5 stars)

The Klear Screen iKlear Complete Cleaning Kit is anti-static and free of alcohol, ammonia and sodium lauryl sulfate. The kit incudes a 6-ounce bottle of cleaning solution and a 2-ounce travel bottle. In addition to three microfiber “chamois” cloths, the kit also includes an antimicrobial microfiber cloth to disinfect your smartphone, killing more than 99 percent of surface bacteria. A package of 12 iKlear Travel Singles are in the kit as well. Klear Screen touts its iKlear products as “the only cleaner recommended by Apple Tech Support and used by Apple Care.”

iCleanScreen Cleaner V2 for iPhone and iPod

$19.95,   Monster   (4 stars)

Monster iCleanScreen Cleaner V2 removes fingerprints, smudges, oils, dust and dirt without damaging the screen. The kit includes a Monster Clean Cloth with AEGIS antibacterial protection to kill harmful germs and bacteria. The cleaning solution and cloth are “travel size” as well.

Smartphone Experts Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

$4.95 – $19.95,   Smartphone Experts   (4 stars)

This microfiber cleaning cloth won’t scratch your smartphone’s screen, is lint-free and doesn’t require soap or detergents. The cloth is reusable and machine-washable as well. The Smartphone Experts Microfiber Cleaning Cloth will remove smudges, fingerprints and dirt.

Invest in Protectection

A few simple precautions can prevent scratches and damage to your smartphone. Don’t put your smartphone in a pocket filled with keys or coins, or in your purse or handbag. Ideally, you should keep your smartphone in a case made for your specific model. Cases sometimes come with the smartphone, or you can purchase one cheaply. The case will protect your smartphone from screen scratches, dirt and other damage. If you don’t already have one, consider purchasing a screen protector as well.

Some Interesting Facts: 


Approximate percentage of germs on your smartphone’s touchscreen surface that will get onto your fingertips and travel to your nose, eyes or mouth. Source: Stanford University study


The number of times more germs living on the average mobile phone than found on a toilet handle in a typical men’s restroom. (Source: British product-testing magazine Which?)



The number of germs per square inch found on the average phone. Source: University of Arizona study

About Erin Lang Masercola

As Business Unit Editorial Director at Beckett Media, I lead creative teams in technology, gaming, collecting, autos, home decor, outdoor sports, and more.

Posted on December 20, 2011, in Smartphones and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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