Best phone sanitizer 2021: Keep your gadgets clean

Best UV Sanitizers Phonesoap S20 Greenblue
Best UV Sanitizers Phonesoap S20 Greenblue (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Your phone may or may not be dirtier than a toilet seat right now, but luckily you can fix that with the best phone sanitizer. After all, our phones pick up a whole heap of bacteria, germs, and other nastiness when we set them down throughout our days. Cleaning our phones is paramount. While ultraviolet phone sanitizers can cost a pretty penny, they're 100% worth the investment if they can keep you from getting sick, now more than ever.

What matters in an ultraviolet phone sanitizer?

Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

There are many ultraviolet phone cleaners out there: tent/box models, tanning salon-like clamshells, and wands. We're staying away from wands for three reasons:

  • Too easy to hurt yourself: UV-C can seriously damage your eyes in seconds and can also damage your skin, so enclosed sanitizers are safer for a home environment where kids might try to mess with something that looks like a "magic wand."
  • Easier to mess up: Wands rely on you to hold the wand over your phone at the right angle for the right amount of time, and humans are prone to skipping steps and speeding up their counts.
  • Expensive: UV-C wands that are actually effective are more expensive to come by right now — and the good ones are sold out.

Skip the wands and go enclosed! The best phone sanitizer is the PhoneSoap 3. However, if you need something more travel-friendly, I recommend grabbing the HoMedics UV-Clean Phone Sanitizer, which works quicker than the PhoneSoap and is more readily available. Unfortunately, you'll need to flip your phone to clean each side of it. Actually, it takes more than just flipping it once to get your phone completely clean.

Also, keep in mind that a phone sanitizer only deals with killing germs in the grime on your phone. It won't magically get rid of all the dirt and the physical buildup on your phone. For that, you'll want to grab a trusty cleaning kit to wipe all the filth off and get it out of the pinhole mics and ports.

How to properly clean your phone with UV-C

These all might be ultraviolet phone sanitizers, but unless your sanitizer has a highly reflective interior like the PhoneSoap, you need to do more than stick your phone inside and walk away. Here's how to ensure you completely and utterly eliminate the germs on your phone:

  1. If your phone is wearing a case, take the case off.
  2. Run the case through the ultraviolet phone sanitizer once face up.
  3. Take the case out and run the ultraviolet phone sanitizer empty to eliminate any germs transferred from the back of your case to the bottom of the sanitizer bay.
  4. Run the case through the ultraviolet phone sanitizer again face down.
  5. Take the case out and run the ultraviolet phone sanitizer empty to eliminate any germs transferred from the front of your case to the bottom of the sanitizer bay.
  6. Run your phone through the ultraviolet phone sanitizer once face up.
  7. Take the phone out and run the ultraviolet phone sanitizer empty to eliminate any germs transferred from the back of your phone to the bottom of the sanitizer bay.
  8. Run the case through the ultraviolet phone sanitizer again face down.
  9. Take the case out and run the ultraviolet phone sanitizer empty to eliminate any remaining germs, so they don't incubate in your dark, empty sanitizer until your next cleaning cycle.
  10. Put your case back on your phone.

Christine Persaud is a freelance writer for Android Central who has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's probably working on her latest fitness program, binging a new (or old) TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets, or spending time with her school-aged son. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.