7 Neglected Spots on the Devices You Use Every Day, But Never Clean
Words Jane Chertoff
If you only wipe down the surface of your electronic equipment from time to time, you may be missing grime that hides out on your earbuds, keyboard and even underneath your phone case. Here’s how to clean and keep all areas of your electronics spotless.
If you spend your days glued to your laptop, tablet or other electronic devices—and if your smartphone is practically part of your hand at this point—you’re definitely not alone.
But when was the last time you cleaned any of those electronics? While it’s easy to remember to wipe down the bathroom and kitchen, your favorite electronics could probably use a scrub. Dirt and grime (not to mention germs) can hide around your keyboard, on the surface underneath your phone cover, and even in your earbuds.
Luckily, cleaning your electronic equipment is fairly straightforward. With a little maintenance, you can keep all those devices germ-free and sterile. Here’s how to get the dirt out of your most-used electronics, especially those areas you may be missing.
Think about it: Your earbuds and headphones are going in and out of your ears all the time, so you’ll want to clean them on a regular basis. But since it’s important not to get water on those delicate devices, make sure to use a soft, dry, lint-free cloth to wipe them down. You can also use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to scrub off any stubborn grime if needed.
Adding a phone case or cover is a smart way to protect your electronic device, but when you lift it off you’ll find all kinds of build-up hanging around. To clean dirt off the exterior of your phone, wipe it gently with a microfiber cloth. As for the case or cover itself, check the instructions that came with it, since some are safe to clean with soap and water while others can be cleaned with a brush. Let the case dry completely before putting it back on your phone.
Screens can get really grimy, so it’s especially important to clean them regularly. That goes double for touch screens, or for any electronic equipment that kids are constantly putting their little fingers on. Wiping dirt off screens helps stop germs from spreading, and helps keep your family healthy. But make sure to never, ever use water or soap near your screen. Instead, unplug your equipment, grab a microfiber cloth or pad, and watch it instantly remove fingerprints, streaks and smudges.
Anything your fingers touch—from food to dirt to everything else—ends up on your keyboard as soon as you sit down to type. Eat lunch at your desk? You’re pretty much feeding your keyboard too. So don’t forget to clean the entire surface, and the spaces around your keyboard keys, as often as you can. All you need is a soft brush to sweep away any dust and dirt in those hard-to-reach areas, and a microfiber pad to clean the rest of the surfaces you touch every time you grab your keyboard.
Dust bunnies easily build up on power cords that sit on the floor or behind your desk—just as dirt collects in other easy-to-forget areas of your living room. To clean your cords, unplug them first, then use a duster to get rid of any dust and debris. If needed, wipe down your cords with a cloth dipped in a DIY cleaning solution, or simply hot water and soap. Let each cord dry completely before plugging it back in.
Gaming Consoles and Controllers
If you or your kids play video games on a regular basis, the equipment will definitely need a little wipe-down from time to time. As always, make sure you unplug any electronics before you clean them. Then spray a bit of bleach-free cleaning fluid onto a soft cloth and wipe down the surfaces of your consoles, controllers and cables. Use a slim brush or a toothpick to carefully nudge dirt out from around the buttons.
Those little ports on the sides of your electronic equipment attract dirt too, so make sure not to neglect them. Use a slim electronics cleaning brush to clean out any dust or particles that accumulate in those nooks—but do so gently to avoid damaging your electronics.
When scrubbing down other household equipment, don’t forget the areas people often neglect to clean.