How to Remove Odors from a Cell Phone or Blackberry

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Lisa asked: Somehow, spoiled onion got into my Blackberry case, and as a result, on my phone. The scent is awful, and I have no idea how to eradicate it. The scent on my phone is the worst, especially the rubber bit at the bottom of the phone. Anything would be helpful. Thanks

When oils and spills get into our high value electronics, cleaning them can be a real challenge. Since you can’t wash the piece or douse it with baking soda, the odor removal methods are very limited. Here are some odor absorbing tricks that may help take the stench out of your conversations.

You Will Need:

  • Microfiber cleaning cloth
  • Activated charcoal (available at pet stores)
  • Baking soda
  • Coffee grounds
  • Old pantyhose, cheesecloth or other loosely weaved material
  • Plastic Ziploc bags
  • Newspaper

Steps to Remove the Odor:

  1. Many phones come with a microfiber cleaning cloth that can be used to wipe the exterior of the phone without damaging it. Use this to remove as much grime from the surface as possible.
  2. Remove the phone from it’s cover or case.
  3. There are several different odor absorbing items that can be placed near the phone and still remove the odors.
  4. Cut off the toe end of an old pair of pantyhose. You will need a piece about one foot long.
  5. Fill the end with ½ cup of fresh coffee grounds or activated charcoal.
  6. Tie the end of the pantyhose shut to keep the product from spilling out. If no pantyhose are available, place the materials in the  middle of a loosely weaved cloth and tie it up in a small pouch.
  7. Place the pantyhose inside of a large plastic Ziploc bag.
  8. Place the phone in the bag with the odor absorber. It does not have to be touching it, just in the same bag.
  9. Seal the bag and allow the product to absorb the odor for several hours to overnight. You can keep the phone in the bag whenever it is not in use until the smell is gone.
  10. Baking soda also removes odors. The powder is too fine to contain in a cloth or pantyhose, so simply place the opened box inside of the bag.
  11. Another good odor absorber is newspaper. Wrap the phone in several sheets of newspaper and allow it to set overnight.

Alternatively, instead of using a ziplock, you can use a small rubbermaid container. Fill it partly with the odor-absorber of choice, then cut a small square of cardboard a little larger than your phone, and place it in the box, with your phone on top. Replace the lid and you’re good to go! Just don’t jostle the box too much or you could make another mess.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Never use liquid cleaning products on the surface of the phone. If any liquid enters the phone itself, it could cause permanent damage.
  • Do not place the phone directly into the odor absorbers, simply sealing it in the bag with the items will allow them to absorb the odors.
  • The case for your phone can be thoroughly cleaned which will remove a good portion of the odors. Many times, the materials the cases are made of are more absorbent than the phone itself. Clean it with a moist cloth and soap or vinegar. Either will remove the odors.
  • If the spoiled juices have gotten inside the phone, the smell will dissipate over time as the juices evaporate. It may take some time for this to happen.

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