How to Clean and Sanitize Your Electronics

cropped-lightning-techtips-logo-200x200.jpgWhen was the last time you sanitized your computer, phone, or gaming controller? For frequently-used electronics, daily cleaning and sanitizing is a must. Here’s how to get started.

There are cleaning products specifically designed for electronics. Some people use a small amount of rubbing alcohol instead, or a touch of environmentally-friendly all-purpose cleaner. Avoid bleaches and harsh chemicals. Check your manufacturer’s web site for suggestions on what they recommend for your particular device. 

Spray the cleaner on a cloth, not on the device itself! Microfiber or lint-free cloths are recommended as least likely cause scratches. You could also use the same kind of cloth you use to clean your glasses. Be especially careful of laptops, because any liquid that gets inside can damage your computer. Never use solvents on screens or monitors. This is especially true for tablets and phones, which often have an oleophobic (oil-resistant) coating to minimize fingerprints.

Turn off your device, and unplug anything that can be unplugged. Then, dust your electronics with a dry cloth before sanitizing them. In fact, as long as you’re cleaning, why not dust off your cables, power adapters, speakers, and anything else you may have? Electronics last longer if you keep them free of dust and debris. You can use a can of compressed air to get into all the nooks and crannies of your keyboard, mouse, and computer vents, though experts recommend against using compressed air on more delicate devices like phones and tablets.

Never apply liquids directly to electronics. If using cleaning wipes, wring them out as much as possible before using. Don’t rub too hard or apply too much pressure. A gentle touch is all that’s needed. Test your chosen cleansing method on a small, unobtrusive area to make sure it doesn’t damage the finish. If you have gaming controllers with skins or decorations, be especially cautious not to damage the design.

Cases are not only great for protecting your phone or tablet from physical damage, they also make sanitizing so much easier. All you have to do is clean the case, not the device. It needs to be thoroughly dry before you put it back on. Similarly, you can get covers for laptop and desktop keyboards that make cleanup a breeze.

Another method of cleaning your electronics uses UV sanitizing lights. Though more expensive, they work without the need for solvents at all. I’ve also seen putty-like keyboard cleaners that you roll across the keyboard to pick up stray crumbs.

Keep your electronics clean by washing your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer, and avoiding taking your phone or tablet into the bathroom. 

Do you have questions about cleaning and sanitizing your electronics? Share in the comments, and be sure to sign up for Tech Tips by email for the latest computer news and advice for Windows, Mac, and mobile users. You can also follow Tech Tips on Facebook.

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