How to properly clean any iPhone screen without damaging the display

Steven John/Business InsiderAll you need to clean an iPhone screen is a moist, lint-free, and dye-free cloth.
  • Your iPhone screen is naturally resistant to water and oils, and should not require frequent cleaning, though occasional cleaning will improve the clarity of the screen and the function of the phone.
  • Always use a clean lint-free and dye-free cloth when cleaning an iPhone screen, and avoid using paper towels, napkins, or tissues.
  • Never use cleaners such as Windex or Lysol on an iPhone screen, as these and other products will break down the oil-resistant coating and can shorten the working life of the phone.
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On a microbial level, your iPhone screen is probably dirtier than most toilet seats. Which is gross, to be sure, but most microbes aren’t out to get you, so don’t sweat what you can’t see too much. And your iPhone is resistant to most oils, so you shouldn’t worry about smudging it up so much it stops working.

But once the dirt, smudges, and smears start blurring your screen and slowing down your iPhone, it’s time to clean the screen.

Before we talk about how to clean an iPhone screen, let’s talk about what you shouldn’t use: cleaners. Don’t use Windex, vinegar, Lysol, soap, or any other cleaning product, as they will break down the oleophobic (oil-resistant) coating on the screen, leaving the device much more susceptible to future damage. Also never use compressed air on an iPhone.

Steven John/Business InsiderDon’t use heavy-duty glass cleaning products on your iPhone.

If your screen is dirty enough and is covered by a screen protector, consider simply replacing the protector. Otherwise, here is how you clean iPhone screens. Note that this method is primarily intended for use with the waterproof iPhone 7 and later.

How to clean an iPhone screen

1. Unplug any cables connected to the phone.

2. Power off the iPhone and remove it from its case.

3. Using a clean lint-free and dye-free cloth (think a white T-shirt) that is lightly dampened with water only, gently stroke along the surface of the screen in straight, short motions.

Steven John/Business InsiderWipe the screen in straight, regular motions with a damp cloth.

If you feel the need to disinfect the phone, make a solution of 50% water, 50% isopropyl alcohol, and use that to lightly moisten the cloth instead.

And for the record, the cleaning method described here can be applied to older iPhones, too. Just be extremely cautious around the headphone jack, which is the most likely entry point for moisture and dust.

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