Posted on October 25, 2022 in Technology

How to Clean Your Electronics

Water is obviously out. You can’t use water on your electronics without the risk of them shorting.

1) A VERY Soft Cloth

Quality microfiber cloths are about as good as it gets for hard and plastic screens. Make sure you get the kind specifically rated for glass lenses or electronics (car microfiber cloths have a little more leeway in softness as car paint is not as soft as screen plastic, and as such we don’t recommend them) and voila, you’ve got a solid option for cleaning your screen that’s reusable, washable, and easy to store. One big note to make is that you do need to wash it – if you’re not careful, and you pick up a lot of grit or dust, you can end up sanding your screen or electronics with said grit or dust.

Swiffer products, like their dust mop, can be useful for keyboards and harder plastics, but as they can sometimes be scented (which can leave residue), are often not washable, and are usually meant for floors and hard knickknacks, the microfiber cloth is a much better choice.

2) Lens Wipes

If you spilled something a bit viscous on your screen or keyboard, and you don’t want to risk soaking your device, look to lens wipes! Few things are better solvents than water, so simply wetting a microfiber cloth can often do the trick, but if you’re worried about it dripping or otherwise ruining your device, pre-dampened lens wipes may save the day. The only downside is that they tend to be small!

A bit of 70% isopropyl alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol) applied to a microfiber or other soft cloth can also be used to clean a screen, generally – just keep the cloth damp, not soaking.

3) Compressed Air

Compressed air is great for many things! It can often get crumbs out of crevices that cloths and dusters can’t reach, which keyboards are full of. However, it also comes with some tips – you can blow off keys with it if you’re holding it too close to said keyboard, so keep to the distance listed on the bottle. You also shouldn’t hold it upside down. If you do, the pressurized liquid at the bottom of the container will come out, and not only can it sometimes leave residue, but it’s also going to freeze whatever it touches, which is hazardous to you. And possibly the machinery, depending on what you’re hitting.

What NOT To Use

1) Non-lens Cleaning Wipes

If a wipe is wood based, or otherwise meant for something besides lenses, there’s a chance it could scratch your screen. Doubly so if it’s advertised as having ‘scrubbing power’! It’s not a guarantee – some screens are softer than others – but with how cheap microfiber cloths are, and how expensive your computer screen probably was, it’s just not worth it to use a Clorox wipe over a microfiber cloth. Over time, it might haze the screen, or scratch it immediately.

2) Windex and Other Household Cleaners

Not every solvent gets along with every plastic, but Windex especially is not great for screens. Windex works best on glass and polished metal – anywhere else, and it may slowly dissolve what it’s been sprayed on. You’re not supposed to use it on wood because it can sometimes eat varnish! If you spill something viscous on a screen and need a solvent to get it off, use something designed for cameras, water (but not so much your microfiber cloth is soaking or dripping!!), or the lens wipes mentioned above. Isopropyl alcohol is generally safe for devices, but be sure to use a soft, non-wood based cloth or wipe to use it.