How to clean your phone’s USB port

Given the lives our phones live, it’s not surprising that their ports need a little TLC every once in a while. No matter how rugged your smartphone is, nor how rugged your phone case is, there’s bound to be some level of dirt and dust accumulation in the USB port after prolonged rough use, especially when regularly exposed to the elements. If your USB-C port has stopped working or looks a little dusty, here’s how to clean it safely.

The Essentials

  • Dust and debris can stop your phone’s USB-C port from working correctly.
  • A can of compressed air is the safest way to clean your phone’s USB port.
  • Don’t use liquid inside your phone’s USB-C port.

The best way to clean your phone’s USB port

The USB port on your phone is sensitive, so you need a gentle hand when cleaning it. By far, the safest way to clean the USB port on your phone is with compressed air. Compressed air will loosen dust and blow out dirt without you needing to insert anything into the port.

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

  1. Position the nozzle of the compressed air a short distance from your USB port.
  2. Keep the can in an upright position at all times.
  3. Use short blasts of compressed air to loosen dust and debris.

While you can just as easily blow on your USB port, a can of compressed air is more powerful, and there’s less chance of accidentally getting liquid into the port.

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

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

Removing stubborn grime from your phone USB port

If your USB port is still blocked up with stuck-on grime, then it’s time to delve a little deeper. At this stage, we need to mention that putting any cleaning tools in your USB port can be risky, and you need to be very delicate. Apply pressure at the wrong angle and you could break the connectors or bend them. If you are at all concerned about damaging the internal connectors, then take your phone to a professional.

If you’re willing to give it a go, you will need a toothpick or similar narrow object. You can buy phone cleaning tools online, but if you don’t have these to hand, a toothpick or plastic end of an interdental pick will also work. We don’t recommend using safety pins or anything metal, and you should never jam anything into your USB port.

interdental tooth pick and wooden toothpick for cleaning USB Port

With your chosen poking implement, very carefully begin to work around the central electrical contact. Remember, the aim is to remove debris, not push it further inside, so try to use a small scooping motion. This should allow you to remove any deeper dirt. Again, be delicate, and if you encounter resistance, change your movement instead of applying more pressure. Finally, give your USB port a blast with some compressed air to eliminate any loose particles.

If you’re looking to give your phone a thorough once-over, then we’ve also covered how to clean your phone’s speaker grille, and how to clean your phone screen.

How to stop 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 transport your phone in your pocket or handbag, it’s worth investing in a set of anti-dust plugs or a phone case with built-in port covers. These will prevent dirt from getting into your USB port in the first place and you won’t need to clean it out so often. Anti-dust plugs may be easy to lose, especially if you need to keep using the USB port for charging, but they are cheap and come in packs with multiples. If your phone supports wireless charging, you may want to consider some great wireless chargers to complement your use of anti-dust plugs.

    PortPlugs USB C Port Plug (10 Pack)

    Dust Plugs 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 has helped you clean your USB port. Remember, if in doubt, let the professionals do their job.

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