We all know we need to be washing our hands regularly and for 20 seconds at a time, sneezing in to a tissue and binning it straight away, trying not to touch our faces, and keeping our distance from others as much as possible if we want to avoid catching the Coronavirus (aka COVID-19). But what about our phones, which are undoubtedly caked in germs?

Want to know what you can use to clean your iPhone with, and how best to disinfect your iPhone, iPad and any other gadgets you regularly use? Read on to find out what you need to do to properly clean your iPhone without damaging it.

In this era of COVID-19, and with the virus thought to be able to survive on surfaces for up to three days (according to this study) it’s important to make sure you disinfect your iPhone as it’s the one device you are probably inseparable from (and potentially share with your YouTube-obsessed kids).

We’ll go in to detail about the cleaning products you can and can’t use on your iPhone below. But if you are going to be cleaning your iPhone one important thing to note is that you could seriously damage it in the process.

  • You risk damaging the oleophobic coating on the screen that stops finger prints and makes it feel smooth to the touch
  • If any liquid gets into the ports or ends up inside the iPhone some other way it could damage the components. This could even lead to the battery shorting and might even cause a fire.
  • Apple states that you should not use window cleaners, household cleaners, compressed air, aerosol sprays, solvents, ammonia, or abrasives to clean your iPhone.

Apple’s advice is to use disinfectant wipes or alcohol wipes to disinfect your iPhone. One of the biggest advantages of doing this is that neither is particularly wet.

Can you clean an iPhone with disinfectant?

Apple has always advised against using any chemicals or water to clean an iPhone. However, with the arrival of Coronavirus, the company has now confirmed that you can use disinfectant wipes or 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes (discussed below).

Apple recommends Clorox Disinfectant Wipes, which is an American brand that don’t include bleach and are therefore ok to use on an iPhone.

In the UK we don’t have Clorox Disinfectant Wipes, but Dettol Cleansing Surface Wipes (order from Amazon) are also bleach-free so we recommend that you use them - or an alternative brand - but be sure to check that the ingredients don’t include bleach.

Dettol Wipes disinfect iphone

These wipes are a bit wet so be careful not to get the ports damp - remember you need to make sure there is no risk that any liquid gets inside your iPhone.

You might have some disinfectant in the cupboard and wonder if you can use that to clean your iPhone. Apple’s advice at the moment is limited to disinfectant wipes as long they don’t include bleach. In fact, Apple warns against using harsh disinfectants as cleaning an iPhone with one could damage the oleophobic coating on the screen and if the strong chemicals did seep inside your iPhone they could a lot of damage.

For this reason we would advise against using Zoflora or another disinfectant, but if you have no other choice then make sure it is very well diluted and use a slightly damp soft cloth - you don’t want to get the phone wet or risk getting water in the ports. Be very careful.

Never spray any kind of cleaner onto the iPhone. And make sure that the disinfectant doesn’t include bleach.

Can you clean an iPhone with hand sanitiser

If you’ve been lucky enough to actually get your hands on some hand sanitiser you might be wondering if you should give your iPhone a quick wipe with it.

The advice is that it wouldn’t be wise as you should avoid using any kind of liquid to clean your device because it could get inside your iPhone and damage the components.

Hand sanitiser

Can you clean an iPhone with alcohol

Apple has also confirmed that you can use 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes to clean an iPhone.

Alcohol Wipes are used in healthcare to clean around a wound, or prior to an injection or operation in order to prevent bacterial infections, but they can also be used to clean your iPhone. You’ll know if you have an alcohol wipe because if you use it on a wound it will sting.

As with the disinfectant wipes above, you should be careful not to get the ports wet.

We’d advise against using any other kind of liquid alcohol or rubbing alcohol to clean your iPhone. This is because you don’t want to get any moisture in the ports. Although Apple has changed its advice in the wake of Coronavirus to include alcohol wipes, the company did previously state that you shouldn’t use rubbing alcohol or other household cleaners on your display because they could result in damage to your iPhone.

Similarly, don’t try using vodka or gin to clean your iPhone.

Can you clean an iPhone with bleach

Apple is clear on this one: you should never use bleach to clean your iPhone because it could damage the oleophobic layer on the screen. This coating keeps your glass free of fingerprint smears. It stops the grease from your fingers sticking to the display. It also feels smoother to touch than glass does normally.

Even if you were to avoid the screen and just use the bleach on the rest of your iPhone you might risk getting the ports damp and the chemicals could seep inside the iPhone and damage the components, so, again, we’d advise against it.

Can you clean an iPhone with solvent, hydrogen peroxide or ammonia

As with bleach, Apple makes it clear that you shouldn’t use solvents to clean an iPhone.

However, the term solvent can include a lot of different chemicals - basically a solvent is anything that can be used to dissolve or remove one compound from another. Water could be considered a solvent, as can alcohol, so you might assume that Apple is referring to harsh solvents such as acetone-based cleaners, which are flammable. However, there is still good reason to avoid even water as, like alcohol, it could still damage your iPhone if the components inside got damp.

Definitely don’t attempt to clean your iPhone with acetone-based nail varnish remover, or any other solvent though. It would not only damage the screen but any residue that got inside the phone and onto the components could cause serious problems.

You might also have heard that hydrogen peroxide can kill bacteria and be considering it to clean your iPhone with. Don’t! Using hydrogen peroxide to clean your iPhone would not be wise.

Clean iPhone

Can you clean an iPhone with windolene/windex

You might be thinking that an iPhone screen needs a glass cleaner. This would also be a mistake. Apple’s advice is that you shouldn’t use window cleaners on your iPhone.

The same goes for any household cleaners or aerosol sprays - there is too much risk of the substance getting into the ports and damaging the internals of your iPhone.

Can you clean an iPhone with soap and water

You might be thinking that if soap and water is good enough for your hands then it’s good enough for your iPhone. We’d warn against it because water is wet and soap can leave a scummy residue. You don’t want soap or water to get inside your iPhone.

Can you clean an iPhone with water and white vinegar

Wanting to avoid harsh chemicals. You might be considering using white vinegar to clean your iPhone.

While you could use a mixture of water and white vinegar and a lightly damp cloth to wipe the iPhone you would still be risking getting the ports wet and damaging the insides of the phone, so we’d not recommend it.

For more information about how Coronavirus is impacting Apple read this