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Don’t be gross – it’s time to deep-clean your technology

Many of us are glued to our technology — be it iPhones, laptops, iPads, or TVs — for the majority of the day. That makes them a breeding ground for germs as dirt, grease, and grime come into contact with them after you eat, drive, run errands, and give them to your kids to entertain them from time to time. While hand washing and general cleanliness can help, they won’t prevent germs from gathering on our devices no matter how hard we try.

Maintaining your tech hygiene is critical to staying healthy and avoiding illnesses, especially during this pandemic. There are fairly simple, easy, and cheap ways we can all keep our tech clean and germ-free. If you follow some basic guidelines, you will be on your way to a better, healthier life. But not all devices should be cleaned the same way.

woman on laptop
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Cleaning keyboards, laptops, and TVs

According to Greg Steiner, the CEO of HelloTech, for these items, make sure you unplug them before you clean them. Keyboards can be cleaned by turning them upside down to shake any debris out, then using compressed air to blow out any dust. To get it sparkly clean, Steiner recommends using “cotton swabs to disinfect small spaces” and “washing all your keycaps with soap and water or alcohol. You can also use a toothbrush to clean the keys,” he said. As with any technology, consult your owner’s manual first before removing any pieces.

Laptops and TVs can be cleaned first using a soft, dry microfiber cloth and wiping in a circular motion to clean off any dust and debris. “Never use paper towels, tissues, or rags to clean your TV screen,” Steiner notes. “These contain fibers that can leave scratches on your screen.” If there is any caked-on debris, wet the cloth with distilled water or mild dish soap with distilled water to get it cleaned.

cleaning iPhone

How to clean your phone

Don’t throw that microfiber cloth away just yet. You can use it to first wipe your phone screen repeatedly from top to bottom, rubbing out smudges and dirt. You can also use distilled water, but make sure your phone is off and unplugged.

Steiner advises against using abrasive cleaning products, like Windex or Clorox, which can “remove the protective oleophobic (oil-repellent) and hydrophobic (water-repellent) coatings right off the surface of your phone.”

Apple recently updated its website with instructions that say customers can use “a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes” to clean your iPhone and other Apple products. According to Apple, you should “gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces.”

UV light
Nor Gal/Shutterstock

Do ultraviolet (UV) sanitizers work?

One of the best ways to completely disinfect your phone screen is to use UV sanitizer. This is a more expensive option than the ones listed above (they range anywhere from $100 to several thousand dollars depending on size), but they get rid of 99.9% of common household germs by using UV-C light to sanitize your phone.

To use, you can either place your device into a UV box to clean or purchase a UV wand that you can wave over all surfaces of your device to clean it. Wands are also portable, so you can bring them with you on business trips or vacations. Depending on how often your devices are exposed to other people, travel, or high-traffic areas, it may be worth the money.

A clean workspace and clean technology not only get rid of harmful germs but can also help motivate you during the day. Clutter, dirt, and debris can cause stress and anxiety, especially during a global pandemic, so having the peace of mind that you are doing your part to stay healthy may be just the thing to alleviate that stress. That means you’re more able to concentrate on the task at hand and not get easily distracted.

As businesses begin reopening, there will be a focus on keeping shared spaces sanitized and clean, so getting into the habit at home will help you be more vigilant when you are back in the workplace. This will go a long way in keeping everyone safe and healthy in the future.

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