Cleaning Your Electronics

While everyone is stuck at home in an effort to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, a lot of us are resorting to our electronic devices to help pass the time we would normally be using outside of the house. This, of course, means that in addition to washing our hands several times a day, our devices we need to be cleaning electronics too.

How many times a day do we touch our face? How many times do we touch our phones or other electronic devices? If you think you are safe because you have just washed your hands, you might not be. For example, your hands are clean, but then you start using your phone and then end up touching your face. If your phone hasn’t been cleaned recently, it is almost as if you didn’t wash your hands in the first place.

Another thing to consider is the fact that for most of us, electronics are shared by others in the home. So even if you have clean hands, your family members might not. And if they are kids — let’s face it — their hands are dirty. For these reasons, it is important to keep your phone, computer, keyboard, remotes, etc disinfected and as clean as possible. Cleaning electronics should be on our daily to-do list.

The following tips can help you protect yourself and your family during this time of uncertainty in the world. Keep in mind that virtually all electronic devices have instructions from the manufacturer that should be taken into account before using these tips.

Cleaning Your Screen

Try as you might to avoid it, your computer is going to wind up with some smudges and fingerprints on it. And if there are children in the home, this becomes that much more likely to happen. Follow these suggestions to clean your computer and laptop screens.

  1. To prevent damage or a nasty shock, you need to turn off power to your machine. For computers, you should power down and then unplug the device. You’ll also want to unplug the individual monitors. Unplug laptops and remove their batteries if your model allows for this to be done.
  2. Gently wipe the monitor free of smears or dust using a microfiber cloth.
  3. If this doesn’t work, you can use a solution of diluted dish soap. You’ll only need a single drop of soap and the water should be warm.
  4. Dip a clean microfiber cloth into the solution and thoroughly wring it out. This is especially important when you’re cleaning laptops, as you don’t want liquid to drip down through the keys.
  5. Gently wipe your display with the dampened cloth.
  6. Rinse all the soap out of this cloth, and wring it out again. Go back over your display to remove any soap residue.
  7. Once more, gently wipe your screen, this time using a dry microfiber cloth.

Cleaning Your Keyboard

If you are anything like me, you eat plenty of popcorn or other snacks while using your computer. Do this enough, and you will end up with crumbs inside or sticky spots on your keyboard. When that happens, you can try following these steps to get your keyboard looking and feeling like new.

  1. You want to disconnect the power source first. For computers, you should power down and then unplug the device. Additionally, unplug the keyboard from the computer. If you use a wireless keyboard, remove the batteries. Laptops should be unplugged. If possible, remove the laptop batteries.
  2. Spray the keyboard with canned air to remove any leftover crumbs or dust.
  3. Lightly dab a cotton swab in gentle rubbing alcohol. Don’t oversaturate the swab, as you want to prevent moisture from falling in between the keys.
  4. Swab each of the keys using a light circular motion. You’ll want to do a spot test first to be sure the alcohol doesn’t remove any lettering.
  5. Dry the keys using a microfiber cloth. Do not replace any batteries or plug in your machine until the keys are completely dry.

Cleaning Your Mouse

The best way to clean your mouse may vary, depending on the type of mouse that you use. For this article, we’ll assume that you are using a standard ergonomic mouse. This should be easier to keep clean than the other types that may have additional buttons and grips. Before you begin, make sure the mouse is disconnected and remove the batteries. Then flip it over and use the scroll wheel to dislodge anything that may be stuck inside.

The first thing you’ll want to do is use a damp cloth that is lint-free to get rid of any obvious dirty spots. Now you can use an alcohol wipe or spray to go over the entire mouse. This will disinfect it. If you are using the spray option, remember to let it sit for a couple of minutes before wiping it off.

Now you will want to make a quick inspection of the mouse. Did you miss anything? If so, go back and hit that spot. If there are cracks and crevices that are hard to get to, try using a toothpick to get any dirt or grime out. Remember the microbes you are trying to eliminate like to cling to dirt so you want to make sure they have nowhere to do that. If you are using a mouse with a wire, go ahead and wipe down the entire cord (and USB connector) while you are at it.

Cleaning Your Phone 

You can wash your hands frequently throughout the day, but its effectiveness is lost if you don’t also clean the items that you are touching frequently. Probably the number one thing people have their hands on is their phone. So in addition to cleaning your hands, you should be making sure your phone is clean too. Here’s how.

The best course of action is to use some disinfectant wipes — preferably you’ll use wipes that contain 70% isopropyl alcohol on your phone screen. Just within the last few days, Apple announced that using Clorox Wipes on your phone is ok.

Don’t use rubbing alcohol. This can ruin the oleophobic and hydrophobic coatings that keep oil and water from damaging your display and other ports.

Removing Smudges

It is virtually impossible to use your phone without leaving fingerprint smudges thanks to the oils that are produced by the skin. How can you get rid of them? The best way to do this is with a microfiber cloth. Just use some distilled water to get the cloth wet and wipe the screen. Do this on the back and sides as well. Do not squirt water directly onto your screen. Another option is to use a microfiber screen cleaner sticker. Just stick it to the back of your phone, pop it off when you need to wipe down your phone.

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