Germs, they’re everywhere! While most are harmless or even beneficial, there are bacteria and viruses which you’re better off avoiding.
The problem is that our gadgets, especially touch-based ones, are a perfect breeding ground for all sorts of nasty critters. Never fear! We’re going to look at how to sanitize and clean your favorite electronic gadgets, without wrecking them!
Warning! Read This First!
You should always check your gadget’s manual when it comes to cleaning electronics. Different devices have different tolerances for liquid and solvents. If you damage your device while cleaning it, you won’t be covered by the warranty if you contravene the manual’s warnings.
Solvents and isopropyl alcohol are especially risky on glass screens that have special coatings or on surfaces with coatings that will dissolve when in contact with these substances.
A damp, lint-free microfiber cloth and perhaps normal household soap (for bacterial and viral concerns) are generally safe on non-electrical parts of any device. Getting liquid into the gaps and innards of an electronic device is, of course, a bad idea.
How To Clean Airpods And Other Wireless Buds
As you might imagine, gadgets that you have to literally stick in your ears can get pretty gross. Not to mention the fact that dirty buds can introduce germs into your ears from other sources, such as your fingertips. It should go without saying that you should also never share in-ear buds without sanitizing them thoroughly!
What do you need to clean your Airpods or other wireless buds? Here’s the shopping list:
In general, wiping your wireless buds with a slightly damp cloth is enough to clean off grime and other dirt. However, a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or cotton earbud dipped in it will kill bacteria and viruses on the exterior surfaces of the bud. Just be careful not to let any of the alcohol get into the speaker mesh.
Some people have success with reusable adhesive putty such as Blu Tack, Prestik and other brand names. Using a small hunk of the substance, small pieces of debris can be picked from the speaker mesh without any damage. Just be gentle!
If your buds use removable silicon tips, these can be washed in warm soapy water. Don’t do this with memory foam or other porous buds. Check the manufacturer guidelines or just replace the earbuds entirely.
How to Clean An Airpod Or Wireless Earbud Case
While wireless buds are easy enough to clean, it’s important not to overlook the case that they come in! Most wireless earbuds come with some sort of charging case. The buds themselves fit snugly into moulded slots, usually with a magnet to hold it in place. That’s great from a usability perspective. However, this also means there are plenty of nooks and crannies for gunk to get into.
Cleaning the outside of these cases should simply be a question of wiping it down with a microfiber cloth. Don’t use any solvents. If you’re specifically worried about bacteria, then mildly soapy water should be OK, but be very careful not to get any liquid into openings in the case and especially not the charging port! In other words, dampen your cloth with a bit of soapy water and wipe down the exterior of the case.
For the interior, your best friends are a wooden or soft plastic toothpick and a cotton earbud. The toothpick can be used to clear out gunk from folds and crannies in the mold, while the cotton earbud can be used to remove grime. As with the exterior, you can dip the cotton bud in a little soapy water, but squeeze out any excess liquid. You want it moist, not wet. Avoid any exposed charging contacts on the inside of the case.
How To Clean Charging Ports
Wireless charging is pretty great these days. Some flagship phones can nearly match their wired charging speed using a wireless pad and one day all phones might only charge wirelessly. For now, however, the vast majority of phone users have to stick a cable into their phone’s charging port.
This means you’re also shoving dirt and debris into the port, which can cause issues over time. We’ve found that modern USB-C ports are a particular problem. As lint and other gunk builds up in the port, it may eventually make it impossible to put the plug in deep enough.
For all port types, a bit of compressed air is usually enough to dislodge any serious grit, but thanks to the USB-C design, we’ve found using a wooden or plastic toothpick to gently work around the inside of a USB-C port will dig out that lint easily.
How To Clean Your Smartphone Or Tablet
Smartphones and tablets get covered in germs and grime from being touched, held and put down on various surfaces over the course of a day. These germs can be transferred to you when you touch your face or when you put a phone up against your ear. The good news is that cleaning these electronic devices is pretty easy. First, here’s what you’ll need:
- Regular household soap
- A dampened, lint-free cloth
- A dry microfiber cloth
Many modern phones are rated as waterproof, but you shouldn’t immerse or excessively wet them for no reason. Especially if the phone is a bit older or has been dropped a few times, which may have compromised its waterproofing.
Take a lint-free cloth that’s been dampened with soapy water and wipe down the device. Then use a cloth dampened with clean water to get rid of any soap residue. Finally dry it with a clean, dry lint-free cloth.
How To Clean Keyboards
Whether it’s a computer keyboard, laptop keyboard or mobile wireless keyboard, cleaning them is more or less the same process. Switch off or disconnect the keyboard and then wipe each keycap with a dampened, lint-free cloth. Then use a can of compressed air to blow out any debris or dust that’s become trapped under and between the keys.
A Clean Slate
While we can’t cover specific instructions to clean every type of electronic device, there are some good general rules to always keep in mind:
- Moist not wet!
- Normal soapy water is enough to take care of germs
- Avoid abrasives, solvents and cloth that’s likely to cause scratches
- 70% isopropyl alcohol is a popular electronics cleaner, but check the manufacturer’s warning first
- Be very careful of any screen coating. They can be damaged easily if you put the wrong substance on them.
- Blu Tack, wooden or plastic toothpicks and cotton earbuds are your friend!
If you keep these basics in mind, you’ll be enjoying sparkling, germ-free gadgets in no time! Cleanliness is, after all, next to gadgetliness!