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 constantly in contact with our hands – and also 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 tips on how to clean your laptop and other electronic devices.
How to clean your laptop screen
Laptop and notebook screens are often LCD, rather than the glass of older computer monitors, so they need a little extra care. Computer stores sell specialist LCD screen cleaners, and some people like to use a small amount of water on their screen.
Really the best thing is to just use a plain, clean, dry, lint-free cloth. Microfiber cloths are a good choice for this task. The type of cloth you use is highly important, as other materials, such as paper towels or rags, could scratch the screen. If you do decide to use a screen cleaner like water or a cleaning solution, always use a very small amount and apply to the cloth, rather than directly to the screen to avoid causing damage.
Cleaning a keyboard is a little more complex, but since many of us tend to snack in front of our laptops, quite a lot of dirt ends up lurking between our keys. A build-up of dirt in your keyboard means keys are more likely to stick and cause problems, so:
- Tip the keyboard upside down and let all the dust and dirt that has accumulated fall out.
- Use a can of compressed air to tackle the stubborn bits of dirt and dust that don’t want to come out, angling the can so it’s blown out, rather than pushing it further in.
- Now make your keyboard more hygienic: wipe a little rubbing alcohol onto and around the keys using a cotton bud, and allow them to dry naturally.
If you use a trackpad, the best way to keep this clean and hygienic is to use rubbing alcohol as described above. This kills germs that can be transferred onto the computer by dirty hands. If, however, you use a mouse, you’ll want to take a different approach, and that approach depends on whether you have a mechanical or an optical mouse.
For an older style mechanical mouse:
- Remove the ball, wash it with clean water, and allow it to dry.
- Remove any dust and dirt from the ball housing
- Apply rubbish alcohol or an all-purpose cleaner to a cloth to clean the mouse casing.
Cleaning an optical mouse is much easier:
- Clean the casing in the same way, but simply ensure that there is no build up of dust and dirt around the laser.
Cleaning your TV
These days most people have plasma or LCD TV screens, so you can simply follow the advice on how to clean a laptop screen from the section above for tips on cleaning an LCD TV screen.
TV screens that are made of glass can be cleaned with an ordinary store-bought glass cleaner. Just be sure that the product you buy is free from alcohol and ammonia, as these can damage the coating of the screen. Glass cleaners are great for tackling greasy finger marks, but if you’re simply doing a quick once-over for maintenance purposes, you may be able to get away with simply using a lint-free cloth to remove surface dust and dirt.
Cleaning your smartphone or tablet
- Smartphones are easy to clean, and if they are entirely touch-operated, you can use an LCD screen cleaner – check the section on screen-cleaning for more information.
- Remember to turn your phone or tablet off before trying to clean it!
- Smartphones and tablets can actually be more thoroughly scrubbed than a computer screen because their screens are designed to take more consistent pressure.
- However, special attention should be paid to phone mouthpieces, as they can be the dirtiest part of your device (by way of being in near constant contact with the human mouth). Go over these once or twice a week with an antibacterial wipe.