How To Clean Your Cellphones & Laptops, From An Expert

Assistant Managing Editor By Abby Moore
Assistant Managing Editor
Abby Moore is an assistant managing editor at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine.
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With the continued spread of COVID-19, you've likely heard from the CDC that washing your hands is one of the best ways to protect yourself from infection. Along with hand-washing, they recommend disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, which can include cellphones and laptops. 

To find out the most effective way to clean electronic surfaces without damaging them, we consulted green cleaning expert Melissa Maker. The founder of Clean My Space told us how and how often we should be cleaning these frequently used objects. 

How to clean your cellphone.

Apple recently updated their webpage to inform users that it's OK to use a 70% rubbing alcohol wipe on the surface of your iPhone. Maker told us, "That's the best thing to do in terms of killing germs." 

In case your local store has run out of disinfectant wipes, "applying rubbing alcohol on a flat-weave microfiber cloth, and running it along the screen of your phone," has the same effect. 

Just because the backs of our phones don't touch our faces doesn't mean we should neglect cleaning them. To make sure every aspect of the device is clean, Maker uses "two-step disinfection" to clean both the front and back of the phone, as well as the interior and exterior of the phone's case.

According to Maker, two-step disinfection is the most effective way to disinfect any surface.


Two-step disinfection:

  1. First, clean with soap and water.
  2. Second, finish it with a disinfecting wipe.

How to clean your laptop.

If you're working from home or your school is canceled for the time being, your laptop is (hopefully) less exposed to germs. However, if you're still going to the office or working from coffee shops, wiping down your laptop daily is good practice. 

"The main thing with any electronic device is to make sure you're not getting moisture into any cracks and crevices because that will ruin them," she said. Using a treated cloth, instead of spraying the surface, will help protect the device from liquid damage. 

How often should these devices be cleaned?

"Your phone is like your third hand," Maker said. "If we're washing our hands several times a day, then we should be doing the same with our phones."

Under most circumstances, cleaning these devices once or twice a week is sufficient. Under current conditions, though, if you've been using your cellphone in public, she recommends cleaning it daily. 

This is because, according to infectious disease specialist Sandra Kesh, M.D., "most people's cellphones are teeming with bacteria and viruses. Plain and simple, they're gross."

After you wash your electronic devices, consider giving those reusable cups and water bottles a good scrub-down as well.

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