How to Clean USB Ports in Laptops, Computers, and Smartphones, and Why You Should Do It Now

Whenever we have problems with charging our electronic devices or plugging an external data source, we'd quickly blame the connector or the battery chargers that we use. 

However, it's often missed that our USB port's cleanliness is the root of the problem. While we take good care of our, let's say, smartphone screens by putting a screen guard layer onto them, USB and charging ports are usually the most overlooked part of the device. Here is how to clean them, whether in laptops, computers, or even smartphones and why you should do it now. 

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Why Should I Do It Now?

The first questions are: why should I clean my USB ports? How important is it? What happens if I don't?

As the most overlooked part of the device, USB ports often store unwanted dust and germs due to its owners' high mobility. If nothing works in a particular port, it's likely caused by specks of dirt and dust blocking the connection. 

Even worse, some devices that aren't mobile, like PC desktops and gaming consoles (PS4, PS5, or Xbox One/Series X/S), often store the most dirt because the owners do not always have to move them. 

In the longer term, it may cause much more severe damage. Ports may no longer perform their duties. The worst-case scenario is you'd have to change for another USB port, which costs you even more money. When you frequently put your phone in your pocket or bag, loose debris can be forced into the ports' small opening. 

How to Clean USB Ports

To clean USB ports without damaging your devices, what you'd need now is a cotton swab with alcohol. Then, gently put the cotton swab inside it and move it up and down until all the loose debris comes out. 

Isopropyl alcohol with more than 70% concentration will do just good because it doesn't take too long to dry. Do not turn your devices on until everything cools down, and do not use a new cotton swab to dry it out because you do not want to leave any mark behind.

Or, a can of compressed air will work wonders, especially if you don't have anything stuck inside the ports but the loose dust. Unlike the first option, air can blow it out without having to insert anything, and it's less risky. Don't forget to hold the can straight up and steady because you do not want to blow any of the liquid contained inside the can. 

If it still doesn't work, try a toothpick or a disposable plastic dental pick. They're ideal for the job, especially if you're trying to dig out small C-type USB ports. 

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