How To Clean USB C Port (Phone & Laptop Cleaning Guide)

A USB-C port is a handy feature of various electronics that can help transfer data over a small distance. However, these ports are open spaces into the device that can become clogged with dirt and become faulty.  

If you are looking for tips on how to finally clean your USB-C port, we have plenty of advice in this handy guide. 

A USB-C port is a standard cable connection interface for many modern computers and electronics. They are a newer standard to support thinner cable types and form factors than previous editions USB-A and USB-B.

These USB-C ports are typically used to hold USB cables. There are many devices that utilize USB ports such as printers, network adapters, USB drives, monitors, and other compatible devices. Most people who interact with modern technology have used a USB port at some point in their personal or professional lives. 

MacBook pro

Why Should You Clean Your Phone/Laptop's USB-C Port? 

Because you typically carry your phone and laptop around to use in everyday life, these open spaces will inevitably gather dirt. It is not something we typically think about, but not cleaning these handy devices once a month can inhibit or damage the function of your beloved tech.  

Dirt build-up in USB-C ports can make the ports less efficient, slow the transmission of data, and cause your device to disconnect the power while in use. 

Signs That A USB-C Port Needs Cleaning 

  • The USB-C Port Doesn’t Charge 
    While it is easy to assume that your port has simply worn down or has software issues, the solution may be simpler than getting a new device. Dirt build-up can get in the way of the connection between a USB cable insert and the port interior. 
  • The USB-C Port Can’t Transfer Data  
    Electronics may seem to have a habit of stopping functioning when you are in a hurry or doing important things. However, instead of groaning in frustration, you may find that cleaning the port and groaning in irritation can restore the port. 
  • Cables Don’t Click Into Place In The USB Port   
    A cable can only properly work within the port when connected with a click. If the cable feels loose or does not click, there may be dirt build-up getting in the way; cleaning should quickly resolve the issue. 

4 Ways To Clean USB-C Ports (DIY Guide Without Damage) 

Knowing how to clean a USB port is part of the battle. There are a few different ways to clean your USB-C port that are cheap and easy to do. 

Related: How To Clean A Laptop Internally Step By Step

1. Using Compressed Air 

  • Pick up a can of compressed air from the store 
  • Spray it away from your electronics for two seconds to remove condensation 
  • With the can at a slight angle, blow short bursts of 1-2 seconds into the port. We recommend 5-6 bursts at slight angles  
  • Once done, shine a flashlight into the port to check
  • If there is still dirt, repeat the above or try one of the methods below 
  • Plug in a USB cable and test if it is functional 

2. Using A Toothpick/Dental Pick 

  • Using a wooden toothpick to prevent electrocution, insert it gently into the port 
  • Slide the toothpick around and remove the dirt carefully 
  • Once done, shine a flashlight into the port to confirm the dirt has been completely removed 
  • Plug in a USB cable to confirm the port works 

3. Using Isopropyl Alcohol  

  • By either wrapping a wooden toothpick in a cotton swab or using a Q-tip, gently dip the cotton end into some isopropyl alcohol 
  • Ensuring the cotton end is damp and not soaked, gently insert it into the USB-C port and scrape the dirt out of the port 
  • Once one, shine a flashlight into the port to ensure the build-up has been removed 
  • Plug in a USB cable to confirm the port is still functional 

4. Cotton Swabs & Tissue Paper  

  • For those who have iPhones or MacBooksgently insert the SIM eject tool into the USB port 
  • Gently scrape the dirt away as best you can 
  • Perform the flashlight check 
  • Plug a USB cable into the port to confirm that the port remains functional 
person holding a phone

Keeping The USB-C Port Clean In The Future (Prevention Tips) 

Now that you know how to clean a USB type C port, you need to learn how to keep it clean in the long term. There are various techniques that can help keep build-up to a minimum, including: 

Cover the port with tape 

This is a cheap short-term solution that involves simply covering the port with a small piece of tape. Standard cheap cello tape should work fine and keep glue residue to a minimum.  

Cover your phone with a case 

One of the most common ways of protecting your phone and showing your personality can help prevent build-up in the various holes in your phone. 

Use a dust plug 

Widely available in technical and online stores like Amazon, dust plugs are often rubber or plastic inserts that sit in your USB and prevent dirt build-up. 

smartphone with usb c port

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Do USB-C ports wear out? 

USB ports of all kind can wear out over time. All electronic parts can naturally wear over time, but rough handling and zero cleaning can shorten the lifespan of the port. 

How much does it cost to replace a USB-C port? 

That depends on your area, but it can cost 50-90 dollars to repair professionally or 2-30 dollars when doing it yourself. We recommend shopping around and finding the right method that is within your budget and skillset. 

What can damage your USB-C charging port? 

There are various factors that can damage your USB port, including dirt, careless handling, and software issues. Cleaning the port regularly and being mindful in your handling can extend its overall lifespan. 


While it is easy to let cleaning your USB-C port fall to the bottom of your to-do list, knowing how to clean a USB type C port is half the battle. If you are regular and careful in your cleaning and maintenance, your USB port should not wear out as quickly.