What You'll need
There are many ways to clean your phone, some more aggressive than others. For grease and dirt, a simple dusting or dry wipe can be effective. On the other hand, if you're wondering how to clean your phone to protect you from the virus, it might be sensible to make a more dedicated effort. This is when chemicals enter the equation.
Compressed air is a contained gas that has been pressurized at a level greater than the atmospheric pressure in the general environment. This air is usually housed in an aerosol can so the air can be applied directly to whatever item or service needs it. The compression of the air gives it a great force once released, and this energy is classified as a renewable resource. Being an easily sourced product, compressed air is very cheap as well.
The use of compressed air with phones pertains to cleaning dust or dirt in unreachable nooks and crannies of your cell phone. When grime gets into the ports of your cellphone like your audio jack or charging input, it will be packed even tighter when you insert a cable. Over time, the port will lose its functionality, and you'll be unable to charge your phone or listen to music with headphones.
To prevent or correct this problem, you can use compressed air, but be extremely careful. The pressure can damage the microphone if you're not precise. Apple, in particular, warns against using compressed air for this reason.
Ultraviolet (UV) lights are a type of light with shorter wavelengths than that of visible light. They are found in sunlight and are also called UV rays. Black lights and sun tanning beds use UV rays too. Unlike compressed air, ultraviolet lights actually kill bacteria, rather than just blowing them out. Some companies selling UV lights claim that they kill 99.9% of bacteria. In this sense, it can be compared to hand sanitizer. But its effectiveness against coronavirus is not known or well-researched.
Dry wipes should be your first go-to for hassle-free phone cleaning. The oleophobic coating of your makes it easy for a quick wipe down when fingerprints or grease get too visible. Microfiber cloths or soft linen usually achieve the goal. These are basically the same fabrics you would use to wipe down a pair of glasses. Naturally, the cloth should be lint-free.
Dampen the cloth with water if your phone needs more cleaning. Remember that damp is preferred over wet. Many phones these days are water-resistant, but water doesn't have the best reputation with phones either way, so it's best to avoid it in excess.
Another dry material that can be helpful to phone cleaning is a cotton swab. It's an alternative to compressed air for getting into tight spaces and cleaning out dirt. You can use a wooden toothpick too.
Wet chemicals are likely the safest option when it comes to germ elimination. They should be used with the dry materials mentioned for a thorough cleaning. And they're also the safest treatment against viruses. Again, finding a phone-specific cleaner helps you avoid any unnecessary complications with picking cleaners. If these cleaners aren't available, isopropyl alcohol — which you may know as rubbing alcohol — is a solution if diluted appropriately.
You should combine one part of alcohol with an equal part of water for dilution. Distilled water is best for this. Depending on your area, the tap water could have impurities that aren't well-suited for phone cleaning.