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How to Safely Clean
and Sanitize Your Electronics

December 10, 2019

You won’t find “clean electronics” on most cleaning checklists and even the best maid services usually don’t include devices like laptops and smartphones. Electronics are magnets for dust, dirt and grimy fingerprints and they can be difficult to clean. From smudges and smears to viruses and bacteria, electronics endure a daily barrage of dirt and contaminants that can make us sick.

Those bacteria and viruses on your hands end up on your smartphone, laptop, gaming system, and desktop keyboards. And you just keep rotating from hands to devices and back to hands and so on. It’s a cycle of spreading pathogen spreading cycle that can cause strep throat, ear infections, stomach flu, pneumonia, and respiratory illness from Coronavirus.

Before you go into panic mode and start spraying disinfectant on all your electronics, keep reading to find out how to clean your phone, laptop, and other electronic devices.


  • Check the manufacturer’s manual before you clean your electronics.
  • Don’t spray cleaner or water directly onto electronics.
  • Disconnect electronics from power sources or remove the batteries before cleaning them.

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How to Clean a Phone

The pandemic has changed how we live. These days you wear your mask, you don’t touch your face, and you wash your hands 20 times a day—but what about your smartphone? Think about it. You wash your hands and then pick up your phone. All those germs you just washed away are now replaced with the germs from your phone! And then you put that same phone near your mouth and face when you make a call. You do this over and over, all day long, to the tune of about 100 times. Yup, 100!

So what kind of icky stuff will you find on your smartphone? Research shows smartphones carry more germs than toilet seats—up to 10 times more bacteria because a warm smartphone is the perfect place for germs to grow. Good news is, most of this bacterium isn’t harmful.

The bad news? Your smartphone can also be covered in E. coli, viruses, and other pathogens that can cause illness. Just remember—your phone is exposed to everything you touch and vice versa. But you can stop this cycle of transferring germs by learning how to clean your phone.

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Health experts recommend we clean our phones at least once a day to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. When cleaning your phone, you have to be cautious since it probably has a fingerprint-resistant coating that could be damaged. Tempered-glass screen protectors likely have the same coating. Remove the case and wipe it down with a damp microfiber cloth and move on to your device.

Wipe down your entire phone with a slightly dampened microfiber cloth, or alcohol wipe. Use cotton swabs to get into crevices and the edges of the screen and buttons. For buildup where the phone body meets the glass and other tight spots, a dry toothbrush will remove most gunk without using water.

How to Disinfect Your Phone

Just because you’ve cleaned your phone doesn’t mean it’s completely free of harmful germs. Knowing how to disinfect a phone is a necessity when the presence of germs (and the risk of infection) is high. Here’s how to sanitize a phone after you clean it.

If your device has a screen protector that doesn’t have a coating, use an isopropyl-alcohol-and-water mixture with a microfiber cloth. Pour one part alcohol and one part water into a spray bottle and then spray your cloth with the solution and wipe down the phone to get rid of germs and other pathogens. Keep this solution handy because you’ll be using it for most of your other electronics.

How to Protect Your Smartphone From Germs

Remembering to wash your hands can be challenging enough without having to remember to clean and disinfect your phone, too. Here are ways you can keep your phone cleaner and more sanitary between cleanings:

  • Don’t let other people use your phone.
  • Don’t use your phone in the bathroom.
  • Don’t use your phone when you’re eating.
  • Keep your phone in your pocket, purse, or leave it in the car when you’re away from home.
  • If you’re going shopping, put your list on paper instead of in your smartphone.
  • Use a credit card instead of the mobile pay option on your phone.
  • Wash your hands before and after touching your smartphone.
  • Use hands-free devices to make calls.

How to Clean a Tablet

Use a lint-free microfiber cloth like a lens cloth to gently wipe away smudges and fingerprints. For dirt and buildup, dampen the microfiber towel lightly and wipe down the screen first, and then the case. Avoid using paper towels or tissues because the lint could scratch your tablet screen’s protective coating. To disinfect your tablet, use the same process described above.

How to Clean a Laptop

Because your laptop is mobile, it has plenty of opportunity to pick up dust and germs. Turn your laptop upside down and gently shake out the keyboard to get rid of crumbs. Grab a can of compressed air and blast the keyboard, inputs and crevices. Unplug the laptop and remove the battery.

Lightly dampen a microfiber cleaning cloth and wipe down all the surfaces. To clean the LCD screen, use a damp microfiber cloth to remove dust and smudges. For touch screens, use water or eyeglass cleaner applied to a microfiber cloth. Finish up by wiping down the keyboard with your alcohol-and-water solution.

How to Clean a Desktop PC

For your desktop monitor screen, follow the same procedure you used for your laptop screen. Use water and a microfiber cloth to wipe down the back of the monitor and the bezel around the screen. Wipe down your computer tower and wipe off the dust on your desk while you’re at it to get your home office area clean.

Shake your keyboard out over a trash can and use compressed air to get rid of the debris around and under the keys. Wipe down the keys and the rest of the keyboard and use a cotton swab to get grime out of crevices. Finish by wiping down the keyboard with a cloth and your alcohol and water solution. For your mouse, wipe it down with a damp cloth and use cotton swabs to get into crevices. Complete the job by wiping down the mouse with your sanitizing solution.

How to Safely Clean a Flat-Screen TV 

While it’s tempting to grab your glass cleaner for this job, Windex is NOT the answer! Glass cleaners can be corrosive. Many television screens have anti-reflective coatings that are sensitive to the chemicals in most cleaners. Skip the harsh chemicals and use a microfiber cloth dampened with water to wipe down the screen and then the bezel and base. If you have any electronics like DVD players or streaming devices, wipe these down too.

Just like smartphones, remote controls can harbor germs and contain buildup from sticky, dirty hands. Remove the batteries from the remote and shake loose any debris. Blast the buttons with compressed air and get the gunk around the buttons and in crevices with a cotton swab. Wipe down all surfaces with your alcohol and water solution.

How to Clean Bluetooth and Smart Devices

Smart appliances and Bluetooth speakers collect dust and germs like all other high-tough items. Unplug devices or take the batteries out before you clean them. For devices with screens, wipe down the screen with a damp microfiber cloth. Fabric-covered parts, plastic and other surfaces can be cleaned with the same cloth. For grooves and crevices, compressed air and cotton swabs should get out any debris. Finish up by wiping down everything except the screen with your sanitizer solution.

How to Clean a Game Console and Controllers

Game consoles, and especially controllers, can get grimy, greasy and dirty from hours of gaming and snacking. Unplug the console and disconnect the controllers before you start cleaning. Spray the cutouts and inputs with compressed air and dust everything with a soft bristle brush. Wipe down all surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth and use cotton swabs to get into crevices.

For controllers, dampen a cloth with your alcohol and water solution. Wipe down the controller and cord thoroughly. Use a cotton swab with the same sanitizing solution and get into the grooves and all around the buttons. Make sure everything is dry before you reconnect the controllers and plug in your console.

How to Clean Fitness Trackers and Smartwatches

Your fitness tracker and smartwatch are subjected to sweat and the bacteria from your hands. Use a microfiber cloth dampened with water to wipe off the screen and casing. You can get into any crevices with a small, soft-bristled brush and use your sanitizing solution for buttons. It’s best to remove really dirty bands if they need a thorough cleaning.

Nylon bands are prone to absorbing sweat, so use a dab of dish detergent and a damp cloth to wipe them down frequently. For silicone bands, wipe them down with a small amount of rubbing alcohol to remove dirt and germs. Metal bands should be wiped with a dry, lint-free cloth. If the metal is especially dirty, use a damp cloth and dry thoroughly. Leather bands can be wiped down with water and a microfiber cloth, followed by a leather conditioner.

How to Clean Headphones and Earphones

Your headphones and earphones can be handled as frequently as a smartphone, so besides germs and bacteria, you’re dealing with sweat and earwax. Disconnect your headphones or earphones before cleaning them. For earphones with removable tips, take the tips off and clean them with soap and water and rinse thoroughly. Use a water-dampened microfiber cloth to wipe down the rest of the earphones and the cord. Make sure the tips are dry before putting them back on the earphones.

For headphones, a microfiber cloth and water will get rid of any buildup. Wipe down the surfaces of the headphones and the cord. For crevices and grooves, a small soft-bristled brush will get the dust out. Bluetooth headphones or earphones should only be cleaned with a dry cloth to prevent damage to the electronics inside.

Now that you know how to clean and sanitize your electronics, make keeping them that way a routine task. Want to make a clean and healthy home a routine thing? The Maids has you covered with our range of affordable professional house cleaning services.

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