How To Safely Clean Your Gadgets
Cleaning dust, smudges, and germs off your gadgets require more nuance than the 90s method of blowing on the gaming cartridge, especially during a pandemic. It doesn’t matter how much you wash your hands if you also clean the electronics you’re often handling.
The same is true for your collection of luxury watches, as they are often a significant investment that you want to maintain. While these cleaning and disinfection suggestions generally work for multiple electronics and gadgets, it’s always best to check the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations first.
1. Supplies You’ll Need
You’ve probably seen specialized cleaners in the checkout line at office stores or even your grocery store, but those are just marked-up everyday cleaners that aren’t worth your money. So, instead, make your cleaning solution at home.
a. Isopropyl Alcohol and Water
A simple mixture of equal parts isopropyl alcohol and distilled water in a spray bottle is the only cleaner you need.
Just make sure only to use water on devices like iPads and iPhones; those screens have oleophobic or self-cleaning screen coatings, and the alcohol will destroy them. Never spray this solution directly on a device. Instead, spray it on a cloth until it becomes damp but not wet.
b. Lint-Free Cloth
You’ll also need a soft cloth to attract dirt. Microfiber towels work best, but a pure cotton cloth will also do the job. Never use a paper towel. No matter how soft it feels to you, it can scratch your screen.
c. Cotton Swabs and Toothpicks
Cotton swabs and toothpicks work great for those small crevices that trap dust and dirt.
d. Optional Supplies You Can Purchase
- Can of compressed air
- Special electronics brush
- Lenspen (if you have a camera)
Source: Seksun Guntanid/Shutterstock.com
Regular cleaning is a must for any electronic gadget. Regular cleaning prevents dirt buildup that could otherwise harm your device, and it also allows you to do routine maintenance since you’ll be looking closely at the item.
Regular cleaning may help you catch minor issues before they interfere with the device’s performance. While your prestigious Rolex watch isn’t electronic, it is an investment just like a laptop or a phone and needs proper maintenance, too.
- Wash your hands before you touch your watch to keep oils from collecting on the surface.
- Avoid wearing your watch for physical activities unless it is a sports model.
- Dust it frequently with a soft cloth, close attention to the crevices where dust and dirt may gather.
- If a deeper cleaning is necessary, use a soft cloth dampened with soap and water. Detach the band and the buckle to clean the connections. A toothbrush can be helpful at this stage. If your watch band is leather, be sure it is dry, and then treat it with some leather conditioner.
- Use a polish like Scotch-Brite to buff out minor scratches.
3. Phone and Tablet Screens
Before you start, make sure you unplug your device. Then use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe the screen. Every two swipes, refold the cloth to use a clean part, so you don’t drag debris across the screen and scratch it.
Use a microfiber towel dipped in distilled water to gently clean the screen. Make sure the cloth is damp but not wet to avoid leaving water droplets on the screen surface. Every two swipes, refold the fabric to avoid dragging any dirt or debris that’s caught in the cloth.
Stay away from the edges of the screen. You don’t want to rub debris into it, and you don’t want to risk water getting in. Instead, clean the edges with a dry cotton swab.
4. Phone and Tablet Cases
Cases trap all kinds of dirt and grime, so remove the issue from your device. Some cases can be cleaned using regular soap and water; others need an isopropyl and water solution. Regardless, make sure the case dries completely before you put it back over your device.
Use the isopropyl alcohol formula to spray a microfiber towel until it is slightly damp, and then run it over the keyboard. Next, turn your laptop over to remove crumbs and dust from the keyboard. Then follow the same steps for a phone or tablet screen to safely clean your laptop screen.
6. Desktop Computers
Clean the screen the same way you would any other screen. Wipe any plastic covering, the keyboard, and the CPU with a microfiber cloth dampened with the water and alcohol mixture.
Source: Nor Gal/Shutterstock.com
Keyboards are often the dirtiest part of any laptop or desktop computer, so you’ll want to clean this as often as possible, especially if you make a habit of eating at your desk. To clean the keyboard, turn it over and give it a good shake to knock any crumbs loose.
You can also use a can of compressed air to dislodge any debris, but make sure that you keep the can upright, or you’ll spray chemicals into your keyboard. Finally, run a cotton swab between the keys to catching anything you missed. You can also use a soft electronics brush.
If you’re sharing the keyboard with others, it’s also advisable to wipe it down between uses. Spray your alcohol and water combination on a cloth until it’s slightly damp, and run it over the keys.
8. Remotes, Mouse, and Gaming Consoles
Spray the alcohol formula on a microfiber cloth to wipe down the surface. Use toothpicks or cotton swabs to clean the crevices, but don’t use too much pressure if you use a toothpick. You don’t want it to break and become lodged in the crack.
Headphones, like keyboards, need to be cleaned often, especially earbuds, since they are going inside your ear. Start by using a soft, dry, lint-free cloth to clean the surface of the headphones. If you need to remove stubborn dirt, use a cotton swab dipped into the alcohol mixture (remove excess fluid first).
10. USB Ports
USB ports are an easy way for dirt and debris to enter your device, and, just like the gaming cartridges from your youth, you’ll probably be tempted to blow on them. Instead, use a soft electronics cleaning brush to dislodge any dust without damaging the device.
Cameras almost always have a protective coating, so never use any water solution to clean them. Instead, you can purchase a Lenspen with a special tip that won’t damage your lens. The Lenspens also make great tools to clean air vents on laptops, desktops, and gaming consoles.
12. Power Cords
When we think about cleaning our devices, we often focus on the devices themselves, but the cords trap dust bunnies, which can be hazardous. Unplug your device and use a duster to remove any lint or fluff. If you need to, rub the cord with a soft cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol.
Caring for and properly storing your luxury watches and electronic devices can help ensure their longevity and reduce the risk of illness for you and others who are regularly handling them.
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