How to clean your phone’s USB port

Given the life of our phones, it’s not surprising that their ports need a little TLC from time to time. No matter how rugged your smartphone is or how tough your phone case is, after prolonged periods of rough use, the USB port is bound to collect a certain amount of dirt and dust, especially if you’re exposed to the elements on a regular basis. If your USB-C port has stopped working or is looking a little dusty, here’s how to safely clean it.

The essentials

  • Dust and dirt can cause your phone’s USB-C port to stop working properly.
  • A can of compressed air is the safest way to clean your phone’s USB port.
  • Do not use liquid in your phone’s USB-C port.

The best way to clean your phone USB port

Your phone’s USB port is delicate, so you need a gentle hand when cleaning it. By far the safest way to clean your phone’s USB port is with compressed air. Compressed air loosens dust and blows out debris without having to put anything in the port.

Using compressed air is pretty self-explanatory, but we’ll give you a quick rundown anyway.

  1. Position the compressed air nozzle a short distance from your USB port.
  2. Always keep the can upright.
  3. Use short bursts of compressed air to loosen dust and dirt.

While you can just as easily blow on your USB port, a can of compressed air is stronger and there is less chance of accidentally getting liquid inside the port.

    Dust-Off Disposable Compressed Gas Duster 10 oz - 2 Pack

    Removes dust, lint and other contaminants from hard-to-reach places.

Remove stubborn dirt from your phone’s USB port

If your USB port is still blocked with stuck dirt, then it’s time to delve a little deeper. At this point we have to mention that plugging cleaning tools into your USB port can be risky and you need to be very careful. Apply pressure at the wrong angle and you could break or bend the connectors. If you’re concerned about damaging the internal connectors, take your phone to a professional.

When you’re ready to try, you’ll need a toothpick or similar narrow object. You can buy phone cleaning tools online, but if you don’t have them on hand, a toothpick or the plastic end of an interdental pick will work. We do not recommend using safety pins or metal objects, and you should never jam anything into your USB port.


Interdental toothpick and wooden toothpick to clean the USB port

With your chosen poking device, start out very gently working around the central electrical contact. Remember that the goal is to remove dirt, not push it further in. So try to do a little scooping motion. This should allow you to remove deeper dirt. Again, be gentle and change your movement when you meet resistance instead of applying more pressure. Finally, give your USB port some compressed air to blow away any loosened particles.

If you ever want to give your phone a thorough check, we’ve also covered how to clean your phone’s speaker grill and how to clean your phone screen.

How to prevent dirt from getting into your USB-C port

Prevention is by far the best course of action. If you work in a dusty environment or regularly carry your phone in your pocket or purse, it’s worth investing in a set of dust plugs or a phone case with built-in port covers. These prevent dirt from getting into your USB port in the first place, and you don’t have to clean it as often. Anti-dust plugs are easy to lose, especially if you need to keep using the USB port for charging, but they’re cheap and come in multi-packs. If your phone supports wireless charging, consider some great wireless chargers to complement your use of anti-dust plugs.

    PortPlugs USB-C connector plugs (10 pieces)

    Dust Plug Compatible with Samsung Galaxy s22 s21 s20 Plus Ultra Note 10 Pixel MacBook USB c Dust Cover for Android Includes Cleaning Brush (Black)

We hope this article helped you clean your USB port. Remember, when in doubt, let the professionals do their job.

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