- Clean your electronic devices regularly as they are prone to harbouring bacteria.
- Use water, or cleaning products sparingly. Read our article on dealing with spills on electronics if you have an accident.
- Keep a can of compressed air by your desk to use for dislodging debris from your keyboard.
The next time you’re cleaning the house, take a moment to consider what you haven’t scrubbed. Surprisingly, many of us neglect to tackle the single dirtiest objects in our homes: our electronic devices. Because they’re almost in constant touch with our hands – and because they tend to have tiny recesses in which moisture and dust can easily become trapped – computer keyboards, phones, and other peripherals are usually teeming with bacteria and other nasties. But because they’re particularly sensitive, they require special care and attention when cleaning. Here are some easy ways to clean your electronic devices, and cleaning products you can use.
How to Clean a Keyboard
It’s easy to clean your computer keyboard. But, remember (especially if it’s a laptop) to take care with any liquid cleaning products, and these can severely damage the device and invalidate warranties. Always turn off your computer and disconnect the keyboard (if possible) before cleaning.
- First, begin by turning the keyboard upside down and gently but firmly tapping the underside of the keyboard. This will dislodge any larger particles of dirt.
- You should then go over the keyboard with a can of clean compressed air (which you’ll be able to find in most specialist computing stores), spraying between the keys to loosen and dislodge any other debris.
- You can then remove this loosened dirt with a hand-held vacuum cleaner.
- Finally, to remove finger-oils and other undesirable substances from the surface of the keys themselves, make a diluted solution of dishwashing detergent. It’s vital you don’t use harsher cleaning solutions in this step, as they will damage your hardware.
- Once you’ve got this solution ready, dampen a piece of cloth with it, and, making sure it is not too wet, gently clean the surface of your keys.
- Wait for the keyboard to completely dry before using.
How to Clean a Computer Mouse
More modern optical mice generally require less cleaning, as they are fully self-contained and have fewer removable parts. Periodically, it may be a good idea to go over the surface with diluted detergent and to blast some compressed air in between the buttons.
If you’re using the older rollerball style mouse, here are some basic instructions for cleaning it. First make sure to check the instructions that came with your mouse for any advice.
- Carefully remove the ball and roll it gently in your dampened cloth with either dishwashing or laundry detergent.
- Set it aside and allow plenty of time to dry.
- Next, look inside the cavity where the ball normally rests, and you’ll see a set of rollers.
- Moisten a cotton bud in isopropyl alcohol (again, obtainable at most electronic retailers) and gently drag it over the rollers to remove any excess dirt.
- Make sure the rollers and the ball are all properly dried out, and then re-assemble the mouse.