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Cleaning an iPhone With Disinfectant Wipes

Credit: Getty Images

Normally you shouldn’t but, y’know, coronavirus.

When cleaning a smartphone’s screen and ports, most major electronics developers recommend using gentle materials like microfiber cloths and compressed air. Wet wipes and cleaning agents can potentially damage your phone’s inner and outer workings, as well as wear away at the coating on the screen. That being said, when you’re living in the midst of a viral outbreak, it is very important to keep the things you’re constantly poking and prodding as clean as possible. Apple has relented, saying that it’s okay for you to use disinfectant wipes on your iPhone to keep it clean. You just have to be really careful about it.

First, you should use a wipe with at least a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol content, according to Apple’s official guidelines. Clorox wipes, basically. Only use wipes though, no sprays. If you absolutely have to use a spray for some reason, at least spray it onto a microfiber cloth to use on the phone, rather than onto the phone itself. Don’t use stuff like paper towels for this, they’re too rough.

Credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Now, for the actual cleaning, it’s pretty straightforward. Take your iPhone out of its case, and gently wipe down the screen, back, and sides. One pass on each part should do just fine, you don’t want to wipe excessively. You also want to be very careful not to get any cleaning solution into openings or ports. Mind the vent and Lightning charger port; those are spots you most definitely do not want to get wet. Feel free to clean your case as well, but only if it’s made of silicone or plastic. Porous stuff like leather and fabric could soak up the cleaning solution and deposit it into the phone’s nooks and crannies when you put it back in, so just leave those alone.

Unfortunately, as Apple has warned in the past, wet wipes can wear away the oleophobic coating on your phone’s screen, but as long as you stick to the one-pass rule, you shouldn’t do any notable damage to the device. Remember, wet wipes are only for disinfection; if you want to wipe some crud off your screen, just use a regular microfiber cloth.