I've recently upgraded from a keypad feature phone to a smartphone. The smartphone in question has Gorilla Glass 3 protecting the touchscreen, which I've read has an olegeophobic coating which can be damaged by using alcohol.

The question is, how do I wipe the smartphone's display clean? I have a microfiber cloth for this purpose. Is using a liquid handwash soap solution on the screen a good idea? According to some sources, the microfiber cloth itself can strip bacteria from the screen. Is this claim substantiated? Also, I'm not too keen on dishing out money on a cleaning kit, so I would like only home DIY solutions.

Furthermore, when I had a keypad phone, I used to keep it sanitary by wiping it with aftershave or with dettol. I don't think this is a good idea for a smartphone, but all feedback is appreciated :)

4 Answers 4


If the screen itself is not greasy or visibly soiled then you should just wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. If the cloth is clean the screen will be clean. Clean the cloth though sometimes, I usually clean it with water, but mild soap without buildup should work.

For greasy or just dirty screens:

  • Slightly damp microfiber cloths will work.

  • You can dampen the cloth with saline or a mild eyeglass cleaner. This is what I do.

Things to avoid:

  • Anything wet in the phone's openings.

  • Alcohol products. Hydrogen Peroxide, vinegar, etc.

These are just some things that can damage your screen.

Long term solutions:

Buy a case and/or screen protector. This makes sure that your phone screen is protected, and you can use other cleaning products on it. As a plus, most cases have a built in screen protector. Cases also protect against phone breakage and sometimes water damage.


I use Xpro screen clean on mine - comes in a kit with a microfibre cloth and a dusting brush. Doesn't contain alcohol, and I don't use it very often, finding the microfibre cloth does most of the time, and I use a stylus on screen and not my fingers anyway. I clean the other parts (back and sides) carefully with anti bacterial wipes, the sort you might use on your bathroom sink or loo, and I use those to clean the stylus too.


Here is a life hack that may be just what you need but, if not, will be useful for more other applications than you'd ever have imagined.

There is a low cost and very effective sanitiser available. I do not know if it will damage your screen coating, but I'd expect that it wouldn't.

The material, which I'll call Baq for short, is used in the majority of disinfectants and sanitisers. Also sold as carpet shampoo, floor wash, hand sanitiser, mouthwash, mould preventer, moss remover, pool sanitiser and more. Despite its apparently fearsome abilities it is also used at low concentrations, as an oral disinfectant. It is variously known as eg Quaternary ammonium salts / Lauryl dimethyl benzyl alkonium chloride, Benzyl alkonium chloride and more. Once you've seen it mentioned a few times you'll find it under a range of similar names in many (possibly most) cleaning and sanitising products.

Read the ingredient labels on as many disinfectants as you can find. Here most use Baq. The cost per active ingredient varies widely.

Baq is available at a range of concentrations and prices that usually utterly fail to reflect how cheap it really is. Here (in New Zealand) I can buy 2 litres (about half a gallon) of 2% concentrated baq for $2. That can be diluted 20 to 1 (20 parts of water to 1 part of Baq) to make (close enough to) 0.1% Baq solution. This cam be used as a hand sanitiser, kitchen bench wipe down, disc-cloth soaker, shower cleaner , general disinfectant - and cellphone screen cleaner. I would be surprised if it caused screen damage but, as they say, try it in an unimportant area first.

How good is it? - At about 0.1% to 0.25% concentration it is sold here in Chemist shops as an approved hand sanitiser which is superior overall to 65%+ alcohol hand sanitiser. This costs over $10 for 250 ml x say 0.25%, so is about
$10/$2 x 2l/250ml x 2%/0.25% = 10 x 8 x 8 = 600+ times dearer per active ingredient that the disinfectant I buy in the local supermarket. And no more effective.

As a general purpose value or money life-hack it's about as good as they come.
For smart phone sanitising it may be as well.

  • But is it safe to use on my smartphone's display without damaging it? Apr 14, 2015 at 1:58

I just cleaned mine with hydrogen peroxide. I put some on a washcloth, rubbed down the screen with it from back to sides and then wiped off. You can repeat this again. For cell phone case, I sprayed Lysol on it and waited for a while then rinsed and dried it off with a regular wash cloth. My phone looked brand new after doing this. I have a Lumia 640. I do not use screen protectors and also have no scratches or damage to the screen as I have had the phone for a good amount of time. Using other people's cell phones could make you sick.

I just read that I'm not supposed to use peroxide, so let me try with alcohol next time with a little water. I don't ever use microfiber cloths on my phone as the screen seemed pretty durable. Soft cotton rag seems fine.



  • Original post said that alcohol will damage the protective coating on the Gorilla™ Glass 3. Cotton can be more abrasive than a microfibre cloth depending on how it was treated (washed, dried, stored, etc.)
    – Stan
    Apr 27, 2019 at 18:02

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