Skip to main content

Over the last year, there’s been lots of talk about sanitizing our handheld electronics because of coronavirus, but it’s actually really important to clean all of your home electronics on a regular basis–and not just to kill germs.

Dust, dirt, and crumbs accumulate in and around electronics the same way they accumulate everywhere else in your home. So, if you haven’t included them as part of your regular household chores, here are some tips to help keep your televisions, computers, sound systems, game systems, controllers, and handheld devices cleaner and running as smoothly as possible. Special note: Be sure to read the manufacturer’s directions about cleaning before you start. While the tools and tips below are suggested widely, you’ll want to be completely sure they are safe for your specific devices.

Gather Your Cleaning Tools

Electronics are too delicate for standard cleaning supplies. All-purpose spray cleaners have chemical properties that can damage screens. Scratchy cloths can, well, leave scratches. So, it’s important to have the right tools for the job.

It’s also a good idea to keep all of your electronics cleaning supplies together in one container that you can access quickly and easily. A small bucket or storage box set aside just for this task can be stored in your office or in your media console to give you a visual reminder to do regular cleanings.

What you will need:

  • compressed air (air in a can)

  • rubbing alcohol

  • small microfiber cloth/camera lens cloth

  • cotton pads

  • toothpicks/small paintbrush

  • storage container

  • a vacuum with brush attachment

Getting to Work

Step 1: Always work safely! Disconnect your devices from any power sources/remove batteries before attempting to clean them.

Step 2: Use your compressed air to “blow away” any debris that’s caught in your keyboard and around crevices. You can also carefully use a toothpick or a small paint brush to dislodge bigger things like cookie crumbs. (If you have a computer tower, don’t use the compressed air on its air vents! It will blow debris into the device. Use a brush attachment on a vacuum to suck dust and cobwebs away.)

Step 3: Microfiber lens cloths are great for wiping away smudges on a daily basis, but for a deeper cleaning, use a cotton pad dampened with rubbing alcohol. (Never spray any kind of liquid cleaner onto an electronic device.) With the damp cotton pad, wipe down all of the surfaces of your device that you can reach without having to take it apart (i.e., screen, main exterior, mouse, etc.). Then, if you have a case on your smartphone or tablet, remove it and give the inside of the case and the now exposed exterior of your device a good rub down. Wait until the rubbing alcohol has dried before you replace device cases.

Finally, once your devices are clean and sanitized, make sure their storage spaces are also clean. Dust or vacuum inside media console cubbies. Vacuum behind desks. Get all those dust bunnies then wipe down the power cables before reconnecting them to a power source. This will keep your work or play space cleaner longer and reduce the accumulation of debris around your devices.