Is there anything more frustrating than a phone that won’t charge?
Especially when the battery is quickly dying…
I’ve been there – tilting the phone in all different directions, unplugging and replugging, doing anything to get the battery power to move in the right direction.
Sometimes switching chargers works but other times the phone won’t charge simply because the charging port is dirty or clogged with lint.
If you think your lightning port is dirty and affecting your phone’s ability to charge, here’s how to clean an iPhone charging port.
Top Two Ways to Clean an iPhone Charging Port
Clean the Charging Port with a Toothpick (Best, Safest Method)
The gentle use of a toothpick is the number one recommended and safest way to clean out an iPhone charging port.
Why a toothpick and not some other small object? Because a toothpick is wood, not metal. Using a metal item such as a bobby pin or needle can cause an electrical short circuit and completely ruin your phone.
To use this method, gently run a toothpick around the charging port. You may find a lot of lint in the port from your phone being in your pocket. Keep gently removing any lint or debris until there’s none left.
Afterward, shake your phone to release the dust you just loosened.
Use a Can of Air Duster (Compressed Air)
Compressed air is what is used and recommended to clean many electronics, including charging ports.
Air duster, or compressed air, works far better than blowing into a phone for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s usually more powerful. And second and most importantly, compressed air is just air – it doesn’t contain any moisture (like spit.)
To clean your charging port with compressed air, hold the can a few inches away from the port and spray for a couple of seconds.
(Do NOT overspray or hold the compressed air too close to your port. Doing this will damage your phone or lodge the dust there even higher. A couple of seconds is all you need to loosen up the dust. )
Related: How to Clean a Laptop like a Pro
Use a Toothpick and then Compressed Air
If you have a toothpick and compressed air, you can combine the methods. First, gently run the toothpick in the charging port to loosen dust. Then, spray the charging port with compressed air for a couple of seconds to knock all of the gunk out of the charging port.
What if Your Phone Still Won’t Charge?
If you’ve cleaned your iPhone charging port and your phone still won’t charge, it’s likely not because the charging port is dirty.
Try using a different charger to see if it works. (Per Apple.) If not, your charging port may be damaged and will need service.
Hint: If you have to tilt your phone a specific way for it to charge, you’re dealing with a damaged lightning port that needs to be replaced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I clean my charging port with rubbing alcohol?
No, you should not clean your iPhone charging port with rubbing alcohol. If cleaning out the charging port with a toothpick or compressed air didn’t fix your problem, the port is likely already damaged.
Cleaning with alcohol may only cause further damage. You’re better off taking your phone to an Apple store for advice or repair.
How do I know if my charger port needs to be repaired?
If you’re wondering whether your iPhone charging port is damaged or just dirty, here are some signs:
- Your charging port is damaged if you have to hold your phone at a certain angle for it to charge.
- If you’ve cleaned the charging port and the phone still won’t charge, the port is likely damaged.
- Your charging port is likely damaged if you’ve cleaned the port and tried multiple chargers and none of them work.
Can Apple clean my charging port?
Yes, an Apple employee can clean your charging port and will have the recommended tools to do so. Best of all, you can probably have your charger port cleaned for free at an Apple store.
If your iPhone charging port is dirty, try cleaning it with one of these methods. If, after cleaning, your phone still won’t charge, your port is likely damaged. In this case, it’s best to take your phone to an Apple store to have it serviced.
Katie Barton is the owner of Cabin Lane. She's also a home improvement writer for Bob Vila and Homedit. Her cleaning and organizing advice has been featured on Realtor.com, Yahoo News, GoBankingRates, and more. In her spare time, you can find her with a paintbrush in hand, searching for her next project.