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Our mobile phones connect us to the outside world and are possibly the items we touch the most throughout the day. The COVID-19 pandemic has Americans focused on their health and safety, and phone hygiene is a growing concern.

Health experts suggest cleaning your phone at least once a day as a preventative measure. Before you begin, check with the manufacturer for guidance on how to clean your device. Apple and a number of Android device manufacturers offer similar recommendations:

  • Unplug the device before cleaning.
  • Use a lint-free cloth slightly dampened with soap and water.
  • Don’t spray cleaners directly onto the device.
  • Avoid aerosol sprays and cleaning solutions that contain bleach or abrasives.
  • Keep liquids and moisture away from any openings on the device.

While it is safe to use disinfectant wipes on many devices, keep in mind that those containing alcohol, bleach or vinegar may wear down the protective coating on a smartphone’s screen.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers additional advice for cleaning and disinfecting your mobile devices, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. If no instructions are available from the manufacturer of the device, CDC suggests using alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70 percent alcohol to disinfect touch screens.

You can also take steps to minimize your mobile device's exposure to germs and the coronavirus.

  • When outside of your home, keep your phone in your pocket, purse or car.
  • When shopping, use a written shopping list, not a list kept on your smartphone.
  • Use a credit card for payment, preferably a contactless one, and not the mobile pay option on your smartphone.
  • After being in public places, only touch your phone after you have washed or sanitized your hands or removed gloves you have worn.
  • Use a hands-free device when making calls so that your phone is not pressed against your face or face mask.

Printable Version

How to Sanitize Your Phone and Other Devices (pdf)

Date Last Updated/Reviewed: 
Monday, May 18, 2020