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FHM Techie Linis Guide Vol. 2: Let's Talk About Your Dirty Smartphone!

Because we use our smartphones 24/7/365 and, well, cleanliness is next to godliness, we're going to show you how to tidy up your precious the right way!
by Vince Sales | Nov 24, 2014
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You dirty, dirty man. When was the last time you cleaned your smartphone? If the answer is "never," "a long time ago," or even "just last week," you probably need to clean it STAT! Science tells us that your hands and mouth are the dirtiest parts of your body, so chances are, your phone is filthy–and we're not even talking about your shirtless selfies yet.

Because we use our smartphones 24/7/365 and, well, cleanliness is next to godliness, we're going to show you how to clean your phones the right way in this edition of the FHM Techie Linis Guide! (Hint: you don't soak it in the bath tub!)


Your smartphone's screen is the biggest singular hardware feature of your phone so it's going to attract a lot of nasties such as: oil from your hands, dried spit from your mouth, random Chippy particles, and bacteria from your unwashed jeans. The first step is to wipe your phone down with a lint-free microfiber cloth, like this one:

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If your phone didn't come with one, use the cloth that came with your eyeglasses or shades. It's of the same material so it will work.

If your phone is as nasty as a lone syphilitic whore on an island full of sailors, consider moistening your microfiber cloth with a little water first. Just remember that water kills electronics, so use only a tiny amount of liquid. The idea is to moisten the cleaning cloth, not drown your mobile. Pro tip: If it's dripping, then you're not wiping.

Keep in mind the following cleaning commandments:

  • Thou shalt not use tissues. They are abrasive and may scratch your screen.
  • Thou shalt not use alcohol. It will remove your phone's oleophobic (read: oil-repelling) coating (if it has it).
  • Thou shalt not use glass cleaner. Or Lysol. Or other chemicals. These can damage your phone's looks and even the internal hardware.
  • Thou shalt not use thy phone in the bathroom. We don't have to tell you why.


The rules for cleaning your phone's screen also apply to cleaning your phone's camera lens and peep hole covers (the usually plastic transparent panel that shields the camera hardware from the outside world).

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Scratch the glass on the peep hole covers orgasp!the lens itself and you'll have to Photoshop your photos all the time. And you'll want to keep the lens oil-free for best photographic results. The good news is there are no special tips to remember. Just take extra care, and clean those lenses often. As for the peep hole covers, remember to clean the inside part (the part of the panel closer to the lens), too, because dust and grime can get in there as well.

We can't stress this enough: you must be very gentle with your camera's lens and peep holes since they won't come with stuff like Gorilla Glass scratch-resistant protection unlike the display. One wrong move and your selfie-taking days might be over.

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We don't care where you placed your phone. Avoid the urge to break out your mom's bottle of Glo Metal Cleaner and shine your golden iPhone. This may change the appearance of the finish. For Apple's aluminum-backed phones, or Xiaomi's stainless steel ones, stick to the old moist microfiber cloth technique.

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If your phone's back panel is made of plastic, remember that some chemicals may stain plastic, so make sure to wipe away ink, dyes, makeup, and lotions right away. In other words, keep your phone away from your nosy girlfriend (probably a good idea anyway).

For the nooks and crannies of the pack panel, especially the parts that latch on the main frame of the phone, you can use a toothbrush to remove the dirt that have accumulated. If you have several toothbrushes, choose the one with soft bristles to avoid scratching any part of the back panel. Also, don't force it as you might damage the folds or ridges, resulting to a cover that can be removed with little effort.

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Lastly, use water only if you absolutely must, and only a small amount. Don't forget to let the back panel dry first before snapping it back to your phone.


Those cotton earbuds aren't just for your tutuli-filled ears (speaking of which, here's our guide to everything you need to know about earwax). They'll work for other dirty holes, too, like your phone's USB slot, Thunderbolt port (for iPhones), or SIM Card tray. This time around, it's okay to break out the isopropyl alcohol; it will help break down the residue (and there's no screen coating to worry about).

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If you want a gentler approach, you can use a soft brush and a blower. Raid your camera cleaning kit (if you have one) for these tools. If you don't, hardware and gadget shops have you covered. Alternately, a can of compressed air works, too. What's even better is a blower or a can of compressed air will do wonders for other chores, not just for your phone, like cleaning your other man toys (e.g. bikes, small toy figurines, laptops).


Some phones have been reported to have wider, er, cracks (the very small holes or spaces used for ventilation or other secret purpose only the manufacturer knows about) than others (ahem). Once again, break out the previously mentioned tools (brush and blower or can of compressed air), and clean or blow away. You may be tempted to jam a knife or a screwdriver in there to clear the gunk, but–trust us on this one–this often leads to scratches and damage, not to mention possibly a bloody hand if you're Mr. Klutz.

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Sometimes though, taking the phone apart may be the only way to get all the icky stuff out of all the tiny cracks, but doing so will void your warranty. You also run the risk of not being able to get the phone back together again. So maybe you should just live with the dirt. You're going to buy a new phone next year anyway. Everyone knows that.

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But if you won't and your phone looks like it was inside the pocket of a gal who just went mud wrestling, maybe it's time to dial 1-800-LINIS and have a pro look at it. Hey, our phones are investments, so they deserve attention, too!

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