If you don’t clean your USB-C port regularly, it can make charging your device difficult. It can also make your phone or laptop unstable and eventually cause some of the electronics in the device to fail.

In order to keep your devices running smoothly and safely, and avoid damaging them, you should clean your phone or laptop’s USB-C port periodically.

Just because the USB-C port on your laptop or mobile device is used for both charging and data transfer, that doesn’t mean it can’t get messy.

The USB-C port may have lint, dirt, and other debris inside. Follow these steps to start cleaning the USB-C port to make sure it is in working condition.

How to Clean a USB-C Port on your MacBook, iPad, or Phone?

If you’ve used your USB-C port a lot, you’ve probably noticed that it gets dirty from time to time. Since USB-C is reversible, you probably didn’t even notice that something was wrong until it stopped working – your cable doesn’t charge anymore, or it takes forever to transfer data.

Maybe your accessory isn’t showing up on your phone when plugged in.

Don’t worry! It’s easy to clean your USB-C port. I made this handy guide to walk you through it.

Method 1: Use Compressed Air

The best way to clean the USB-C port on your laptop or phone is with compressed air.

Use the straw-like attachment to blast air into the port. Use short, controlled bursts, and hold the can straight up so you don’t blow any of the liquid contained in the can.

Hold down the button on the canister while applying force as if trying to blow out a candle. The compressed air will expand, drawing dirt and dust away from the port and onto your hand or table.

Be careful not to breathe in the dust as this can lead to eye irritation or damage to your sinuses.

Method 2: Use a Toothpick

If the compressed air doesn’t expel all the debris, move on to a toothpick. A standard toothpick is too thick to fit in the port.

Begin by clipping off the pointed end of the toothpick with diagonal cutters. You want the flat edge to fit into the port. Whittle off any splinters with a knife.

To use the toothpick, insert it into the port. Gently push it farther in, wiggling it around a bit to loosen any debris that’s stuck inside. Don’t poke it so hard that you push debris into the USB-C controller chip.

The toothpick method works because it’s thin enough to get into the port, but stiff enough to push out the debris. It’s also small enough to be able to manipulate by hand.

Method 3: Use a Disposable Dental Floss

The pick at the end of a disposable dental floss is usually much thinner than a toothpick and is ideal for the job when you need to clean the USB-C port on your smartphone or laptop.

Method 4: Use Isopropyl Alcohol

Use isopropyl alcohol to clean a USB-C port. Use a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to wipe the dirt from the port. Let it dry and see if it helps or if you need to repeat the process.

If you are using alcohol to clean a dirt-contaminated USB-C port, it is recommended that you use an alcohol with a 99% high purity level. The higher the concentration of the alcohol, the better.

Method 5: Use a Safety Pin

To use a safety pin, just place it gently on top of the dust particles and gently pull it out. Do not try to pull out with pressure as this can damage your port and further increases its vulnerability to scratches as the USB-C connection is so close to the surface.

How to Tell if You Need to Clean a USB-C Port?

There are few things more annoying than USB-C problems. Whether it’s your device not charging properly, or the wrong device recognizing your phone, most of the time this is a sign that your port needs to be cleaned.

While cleaning is an easy process once you know-how, plenty of people are hesitant when it comes to poking around their expensive new devices.

Symptom 1: USB-C Port Does Not Charge

The first sign that you have a dirty USB-C port will be that your device is not charging when you connect it.

A build-up of dirt inside the port can trick your device into thinking it’s charging, even when nothing’s plugged in.

Symptom 2: USB-C Port Cannot Transfer Data

One of the most common problems with USB-C ports on laptops and tablets is debris. That’s because these ports can connect to a lot of different accessories, and that creates plenty of opportunities for crumbs and dust to get in there.

And the more junk you find, the less your device will be able to transfer data. If your USB-C port is having data transfer issues, it’s probably because the USB-C port needs to be cleaned.

Symptom 3: Cable Inserted Into the USB-C Port Does not Click

If your USB-C port is clean, you should be able to put the cable into the port and have it click in place. If the port is dirty or bent, you may not hear a click.

If you hear a squishy, spongy sound when you plug your cable into a USB-C port, it’s probably due to trapped lint or dirty debris.

How to Keep Your USB-C Charging Port Clean in the Future?

If you’re reading this, you probably read the title. You also successfully cleaned your USB-C port or are planning to do it. Great! But what now? How can you prevent your device’s USB-C port from getting dirty again?

Method 1: Use Adhesive Tape

To keep your USB-C port in top shape, you can cover it up with a strip of adhesive tape. Adhesive tape is flexible and easy to remove when you’re done using it, which means it’s good for multiple uses.

If you own a mobile device, just stick the tape over the USB-C port and you’re done.

Method 2: Use a Phone Case

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about smartphones, it’s that they suffer from a lot of debris. If you leave your phone unattended for a few hours, it’s entirely possible that dust or debris could end up in your USB-C port and ruin your pristine smartphone.

You should get a phone case that covers the port so that dust or debris cannot get inside.

Method 3: Use a Dust Plug

Every now and then you might find yourself plugging in a USB-C device and not realizing that there is dust in there until it is too late. This is why it is a good idea to cover your USB-C port with a dust plug.

Make sure that any USB-C cables that you are plugging in have been cleaned as well. You don’t want to have to scour your desk or case for these tiny little bits of debris that can pose a threat to your devices now and in the future.


Many people do not realize the importance of a USB-C port cleaning process. In fact, over time, the accumulation of dirt and dust can damage and prevent data transfer between devices.

Therefore, timely cleaning of the USB-C port is an essential task for those who own electronic devices like a tablet, laptop, or phone with this interface.

Tim Miller

Tim has always been obsessed with computers his whole life. After working for 25 years in the computer and electronics field, he now enjoys writing about computers to help others. Most of his time is spent in front of his computer or other technology to continue to learn more. He likes to try new things and keep up with the latest industry trends so he can share them with others.

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