How to clean your smart devices
Safely cleaning smart devices can be tricky, but not cleaning them can cause serious issues. Besides the fact that some of your devices are likely carrying more germs than a toilet seat, enough dust, dirt or ear wax can disrupt proper functioning of your devices. You don’t need to purchase a bunch of expensive wipes, canned air, or UV lights to get them clean. In most cases, some water, alcohol, soap, and a microfibre cloth can get all of your devices clean.
Follow the Barroccu & co guide on how to clean your smart devices.
Cleaning your laptop and computer
Especially if it’s a laptop, your computer is probably the most delicate of all your devices.
Dust can mess with the keyboard, cause the fan to short out, and cloud the screen.
Despite that, you can do even more damage if you clean it improperly.
Using paper towels, cloth that has any lint on it, or household cleaners can damage all of your devices.
Gently rubbing a dry, clean microfibre cloth on all sides of the devices is typically enough to pick up most dirt and dust.
Sandy Nelson, owner of Molly Maid of Sarasota, Manatee & Charlotte Counties, a Neighborly company, suggests using a blush brush for hard-to-reach spots: “If it’s gentle enough for your face, it’s gentle enough for the screen,” she explains.
Past dusting, though, things get a bit more complicated.
You’ll need to get the cloth at least a little damp to get rid of bacteria or work off any smudges, but even the smallest amount of liquid can cause damage.
Before you start cleaning any device, you want to turn it off to reduce the risk of shock.
Taylor Dixon, a teardown engineer for iFixit, dabs a bit of highly concentrated (91% or higher) isopropyl alcohol onto a microfiber cloth to quickly wipe down his keyboard. “The keyboard is directly above a lot of the internal circuitry so even if you’re careful, something liquidy that’s not alcohol can drip through the holes around the keys,” he explains. Such a high concentrate of alcohol dries very quickly, preventing any water damage. However, a diluted substance (like 70% isopropyl alcohol) is much safer for cleaning screens and is better at attracting bacteria so you’ll want to use that everywhere else.
Cleaning Your Phone and Tablet
Most phones and tablets these days are at least somewhat water-resistant which makes them a lot easier to clean. For that reason a small amount of water on a microfiber cloth is the best way to clean these devices. “Simply using this cloth slightly dampened with clean water can remove up to 99% of bacteria without any type of solution at all,” says Nelson.
Dixon warns that the waterproofing tends to wear off after a certain time so you never want to use too much water and you want to avoid any ports or holes. Using isopropyl alcohol will disinfect the device, but the oleophobic coating that resists fingerprints—which is now used on most screens—can be worn down by too much alcohol. Dab a small amount of diluted 70% isopropyl alcohol onto the cloth and apply it to the screen with gentle, downward strokes. Doing so a few times a month will keep them clean without damaging the coating.
How to clean your smart watch
Smart watches are even more waterproof than your phone which means that rinsing it in the sink, then drying it off with a clean towel is the best practice. You’re walking around with it all day, everyday, so you should wipe off sweat or moisture every night, and rinsing it every few days. Both Apple and Samsung insist that you shouldn’t use any solution besides water on their devices. Exposing leather to too much water can cause it to crack so you should only wipe it down with a dry cloth. You can also use mink oil to condition the band if it’s looking a bit worse for wear. On the other hand, a silicone band can (and should!) be cleaned with soapy water.
The best way to clean your Headphones
The best thing to do with over the ear headphones is to just dry them off with a clean cloth when they get wet or sweaty. Past that, Dixon says it depends on the material. Beats ear pads, for example, are a synthetic leather-topped foam so it can be cleaned with soap and water. Again, you want to really dilute the soap so it doesn’t leave behind a residue. Dab your microfiber towel in the water, wringing it out to get rid of any excess moisture. Wipe the cushions down, then dry it off.
Use a clean toothbrush brush to scrub wax out of the crevices in your in-ear headphones. The bristles are soft so they won’t damage the mesh but will be tough enough to handle stubborn debris. If that doesn’t work there are two options: Dip the bristle brush in a highly diluted alcohol solution, tap off any excess, and scrub away. The very light amount of wetness should help break down the wax enough to remove it. If the idea of using a liquid on your fancy new AirPods makes your heart race, try rolling up a bit of mounting putty and gently pressing it onto the mesh. The stickiness will pull out any debris without the risk of getting them wet. If the earbuds have rubber tips, your job is much easier as you can just remove them and soak them in soap and water.
Clean your television and remote control
Dust and fingerprints can make even the best picture foggy and dull. Just like with your computer screen, you’ll want to gently dust off the TV with a microfiber cloth, and use a tiny bit of water to rub off any smudges. You’re likely using the same hand that’s grabbing handfuls of greasy popcorn to change the channel so you’ll want to clean the remote while you’re at it. Remove the batteries from the remote and tap out any crumbs, then wipe the whole thing down with 70% isopropyl alcohol that’s been watered down. Dry it off before you replace the batteries. In no time at all, you’ll be back to your Netflix bingeing.
Cleaning outlets and light switches
For such a high traffic place in the home, we definitely don’t clean our outlets or light switches enough. You should wipe them with a dry microfiber cloth every week or so. For smudges or sticky residue, Nelson says to lightly dab the cloth in a solution of warm water and a drop of dish soap and rub. Never spray directly at the wall plate because the moisture can work its way in and cause electric shock. If the plates are too dirty for such a gentle cleaning, you can turn off the power, take them off the wall, and soak them in warm soapy water. After thoroughly drying the plates, they should be good as new and ready to be reattached to the wall.
How to clean a Router
Your router doesn’t need to be cleaned much because you’re not touching it very often but you should dust it every couple of months to prevent overheating. Once you unplug it, flip it upside down and tap any debris that may have gotten into the tiny holes. Then, use a blush brush or a microfiber cloth to dust off the exterior.
Barroccu & Co microfibre cleaning cloths
We hope that you found our guide on how to clean your smart devices useful.
Read our other blog posts for more advice on how to clean your smart devices with a Barroccu & co cleaning cloth.