How to Clean a Phone

A good cleaning can save a gunked-up portable phone

Spilled a drink on your cordless phone? Don’t panic yet—these instructions will show you how to clean your phone and restore it to working condition without paying a bundle.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Disassemble, clean and dry the phone

Nobody knows who spilled the soda on the portable phone. But now the buttons are all gummed up and you can’t use it. You may have to pitch the phone and buy a new one. But first, here’s how to clean a phone and maybe save it from the recycling center.

Remove the batteries and any screws inside the battery compartment. Check for other screws holding the case together and remove them, too. Then use a butter knife to pry open the case.

Remove the entire circuit board and the silicone push buttons. Cover the speaker, microphone, earpiece and any mechanical switches with duct tape to keep them dry. Then clean all the parts with water/dishwashing detergent solution and a soft toothbrush (Photo 1).

Once you get the crud off, rinse the parts with lukewarm tap water. Blow off the excess water with compressed air (Photo 2). Remove the tape and store the circuit board and push buttons in a bag of rice for a few days. Then reassemble and try making a call. If cleaning the phone has worked, you just saved yourself some bucks. If not, you’re just out a little time.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Air compressor
  • Air hose
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver

You'll also need a soft toothbrush, a compressed air nozzle and a butter knife.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Duct tape
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Water
  • Bag of rice