Spring is in the air! It’s time to wipe away the dust of winter and refresh your tech. While you’re likely thinking of a few big projects to clean, you may be overlooking some of the most important tasks right under your nose, tasks that should be done on a regular basis.
According to research by the Wall Street Journal, the average smartphone is teeming with bacteria. The same goes for tablets, computer keyboards and mice, gaming controllers, TV remote controls and headphones or ear buds. Yikes! Read on to learn how to safely and quickly clean your gadgets.
Clean the Screen
The best way to clean the screen on any gadget, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, computer monitors and even TVs, is to use a soft lint-free or microfiber cloth. Don’t use paper towels; they can leave unsightly scratches. You also want to avoid harsh chemicals or window cleaners, and never spray anything directly onto the screen, as some devices have a special coating that could get wiped away. If your screen is covered with fingerprints from the kids, create a mixture of 50/50 distilled water and white vinegar, dampen a soft cloth and gently wipe the screen.
Headphone Sockets and Speaker Grilles
As you may have noticed, every little nook and cranny on your device eventually builds a nice collection of gunk. To clean the headphone sockets, ports and speaker grilles, use a keyboard vacuum with a brush attachment to stir up and remove any dirt. Don’t use a regular vacuum, as it has too much suction and could damage your gadgets.
While it may be tempting to use spray air, this could blow dirt into the device and cause damage. If you accidentally blew dust into a headphone socket, it could block the micro switch that lets the device know when headphones are plugged in. Additionally, some manufacturers place water sensors near the headphone socket, and blowing air could push moisture onto the sensor and void your warranty. Remember to power off your devices before cleaning!
Headphones and Earbuds
Over time, headphones and earbuds accumulate a collection of dust, sweat and earwax. To keep them clean, add a little mild dish detergent to a bowl of warm water. Then slightly dampen a cloth and wipe down the headset. If your headphones have removable covers, take them off and use an old toothbrush to give them a good clean. If your earbuds are really gunky, use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean them.
Keyboards and Mice
First, power off your keyboard and mouse before cleaning. To clean the keyboard, first turn it over and bang it lightly on your desk a few times to remove crumbs, dirt and dust. Then blow some compressed air between the keys to get rid of stubborn dirt. If the keys themselves are dirty, use a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol to remove dirt and oil. To clean your mouse, turn it over and clean the rubber pads with a dampened cotton swab. To clean the buttons, use the same process you used to clean the keyboard.
Gaming Controllers and Remote Controls
These can be cleaned in much the same way as you’d clean your mouse. Use a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol, making sure to remove oil and grime from thumb sticks and buttons. As always, power these devices off or remove their batteries before cleaning.
If you follow these tips, your gadgets should now be squeaky clean, relatively germ-free and perhaps even more durable. To keep them that way, remember to add “clean gadgets” to the top of your spring cleaning checklist. Of course, now that you know exactly how dirty your smartphone and other gadgets can get, you’ll probably be doing it more often than once a year.
Do you have a particular routine for cleaning your gadgets? If so, leave us a note in the comments section!