Even if your iPhone or Apple device has some level of water resistance, it’s incredibly important that you don’t use soap to wash it. That’s one lesson that a Redditor learned the hard way over the weekend.
After washing their iPhone X with soap and water, a tiny green line appeared every few seconds on the device.
Not long after, the Redditor reported that the display stopped working completely.
What’s Going on Here?
To some users, that may not make a ton of sense since the iPhone X carries an IP67 dust- and water-resistance rating.
According to the Ingress Protection standard, that means it should survive submersion up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
But the primary problem here doesn’t appear to be the water. It’s likely the soap.
Apple recommends that you don’t use any cleaning products on your iPhone, but doesn’t elaborate.
In Apple Watch support documents, however, the company says that soaps, shampoos and other cleaning products can “negatively affect water seals and acoustic membranes.”
In other words, soap can make your iPhone (or other IP-rated device) less waterproof.
There’s likely another factor going on here: age. Water-resistant devices don’t stay that way forever. As iPhones age, the waterproofing seals that keep them resistant will degrade.
That’s especially true if an iPhone has been dropped, used in soapy water previously, or exposed to other chemicals or cleaning products.
In the Redditor’s case, the iPhone X is likely a few years old, for example. Previous drops or cleaning attempts probably played a factor, too. While a newer iPhone may have survived a wash in the sink, the last attempt appeared to finally do the iPhone in.
How to Clean Your iPhone
So if you can’t use soap, what can you use to clean your iPhone? After all, they’re our constant companions and are bound to get pretty dirty over time. Well, it depends on the iPhone model.
Contrary to what we just said, the iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max and iPhone 11 are actually safe to use with warm, soapy water. But only because they’re the most waterproof iPhones yet.
For pretty much any other iPhone, Apple recommends using a “soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth” on your iPhone. Don’t use any type of cleaning product, soap or chemical.
Apple also notes that you should turn off your device completely and unplug it from any sort of power before cleaning it. Avoid getting any moisture in the Lightning port, speakers, or around physical buttons.
Of course, using a damp cloth probably won’t get the germs off of your iPhone, if you’re worried about that (and you probably should be).
In lieu of any antibacterial product, we’d recommend looking into some type of UV-based iPhone sanitizer like this one from Amazon.
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