For weeks, I had the issue of my phone not charging as soon as I plugged in the lightning cable. I suspect it could be because of dirt that has accumulated over the years. How do I safely clean the charging port of my phone?

I do not want to damage any parts. I live in Germany. So would prefer to hear about any extra equipments (if required) that can be purchased easily and at affordable prices in Germany.

Things that I have tried already is to use a tooth pick to remove dust/lint. However, on closer inspection, I see that dust has sort of accumulated on the walls of the inside of the charger. It looks a bit sticky as well. So, I am not sure how to go about it.

Additionally, I would like to know how to protect the charging port from dust accumulation. Suggestions particular to iPhone 6 would be welcome.

11 Answers 11


I normally clean charging ports using a straightened paper clip (best results with classic metal ones that do not have a plastic paint cover). I found they scratch the inside of a port much more effectively than toothpicks (resulting in dragging more of the stuff out).

More resistant/stuck lint can be removed if you can bend the last few mm of the clip with pliers a bit. If you have problems with bending a clip, try a sewing pin instead. They're thinner and more easily bendable.

Of course, turn off the phone (remove battery if possible) to make sure you don't short-circuit anything.

  • Normally, you cannot remove the battery of an iPhone.
    – Jem Eripol
    Mar 31, 2018 at 1:39

I like to use compressed air and a tiny brush that came with an electric beard trimmer. The brush is normally used to to clean the shave head but it scrubs well in the usb ports too. I'm sure an old toothbrush would work just as well

Use the little brush to knock loose dirt and grime then use the compressed air to blast it out!

  • Great tip! Thanks for sharing. A plastic brush is much safer to use inside a charging port than metal, as far as damaging te interior is concerned
    – J. Musser
    Nov 17, 2016 at 1:26

When my ports were dirty on my iPhone 6 I unfolded a paper clip and attached a little cotton to it from a cosmetic cotton ball. Then I took 100% isopropyl alcohol and dampened my cotton with it which I then used to pull residue from my port. If some of the stickier stuff doesn't come out right away you can leave the damp swab in there for a few minutes and it will start to absorb/degrade the residue making it easier to remove, just make sure you are using 100% isopropyl alcohol or you might damage your phone.


I take a strip of transparent tape and make a tight loop with the sticky side out. Then I jam it in the port, twist it around, and pull out the dust. No worries about scratching the terminals inside. Repeat as necessary.

Usually on my first attempt, the loop is too wide to fit in the port. So I end up folding it in half. That also gives it some stiffness.

This may seem smart, but what would be smarter (and what I am too lazy to do) is to find a way to cover up the Lightning port when you're not charging the phone.


I used a tooth pick on my charge port, then my phone started charging. I suggest you can try the same.

  • The OP already mentioned using a toothpick and that it didn't work for them. Jun 24, 2021 at 7:15

You can use blue tack to remove a lot of dirt. Just gently press it over the port and remove. Repeat this multiple times.

Don't be tempted to jam the tack in to the port otherwise you'll end up with some stuck in there.


Had this problem as well recently. I simply took a dental floss stick - one with a pointed end, and thus then the connection "switched off". Is at the beginning perhaps a bit tricky. You should swap the stick from right to left and then again, in order to get all the dust.

I have always tried again with compressed air cleaner, but has not really worked.


I use a toothpick. But I really like the idea of the dental flossing tool. I just got a new phone, so for $6 I ordered a set of 5 plugs that cover both the charging port and the headphone port.


I would suggest do NOT use compressed air. BUT, use a vacuum cleaner first, with the power-level on the vacuum cleaner turned down so it's not on full suck. Clear the charging port initially, using the vacuum. Using a bamboo or wooden toothpick, gentle clear the port sweeping right to left. Avoid using a metal point. Plastic or wood is fine. If you do this process over a white piece of paper, you will see any Lint or debris land on the paper. You should then vacuum the port again and clear again with the toothpick. The cable should now fit the port correctly, and butt to the lower side of your iPhone.


It is really a bad idea to use a paperclip or anything metal to clean out your charging port. Paper clips, tweezers etc are very likely to damage the golden prongs inside the port and once a single prong gets damaged, you will need to replace the entire charging port.

Best methods would be:

  • a hairdryer on cool mode to blow out the port
  • a very small, clean paint brush. You can use it dry or with a tiny bit of isopropyl(dip the brush in the isopropyl then squeeze the bristles so it isn't dripping)
  • If there is something stuck in your port, use a wooden skewer or something that is made of soft plastic to remove it and just be very gentle!

Personally haven't tried these but my friends who repair phones highly recommended using one of those mini usb vacuums for computer keyboards.


Mounting putty is the magical solution. If you get a good amount of it in there, it takes out nearly all the dust and lint. And you can see just how well it did when you go to remove the putty.

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