Just Because It Cleans, Doesn’t Mean It’s Safe to Use 

Some of the most commonly used cleaning agents happen to be the ones that send phones to the cemetery of mobile devices prematurely. The reason for this is that most of us are accustomed to using these products for almost everything else, and therefore assume that a phone can withstand the same treatment. But that’s not the case. 


First off, let’s take a look at chemical cleaners. Sure, they’re powerful germ-killing agents, but they’re full of other compounds that destroy more than germs. And of course, some of the things they can destroy include your phone’s components. 

Alcohol/Ammonia-based products 

Alcohol and ammonia will kill germs on your phone, but they can cause some damage as well. On the surface, alcohol creates unsightly marks on your screen due to the high level of acidity. After it dries, it might leave a smudge that just doesn’t come off. You’d have to replace the screen (or worse, the entire phone) to remove those stains. 

Alcohol is also especially bad for phones because it contains water. If you use alcohol or an alcohol-based product and it seeps into your phone ports, water could short-circuit your device because of its conductivity. This could lead to malfunction or total hardware failure. 

Finally, alcohol, ammonia and other fluids can activate your phone’s liquid damage indicator (LDI), the component that tells companies if your phone has suffered water damage. This is bad news because if the LDI is triggered, then your warranty may become void.


The best cloth surface for phone screen cleaning is one that glides. This type of cloth picks up dirt with a just a few gentle motions - there’s no need to press down on a screen. Your best option that fits this description is a microfiber cloth.

Microfiber cloths are the opposite of abrasive paper towels and they come with three distinct benefits: 

  • They’re made with interwoven fabric patterns that allow them to pick up more dirt than regular towels and cloths
  • They’re 50 - 100 times thinner than human hair, meaning they won’t scratch your screen
  • They are antimicrobial unlike almost all paper towels or regular ones


Finally, there’s no replacement for harsh wiping other than to lighten your hand. This one requires more of a psychological intervention and since we’re not therapists, you’ll have to find ways to remind yourself to take it easy. With that said, even just using the microfiber cloth might give you a reason to wipe your screen a little bit more gently.

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