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Get The Gunk Out Of Your Gadgets!

Cleaning Your Electronics

With as much as we use our electronic devices these days, it is more imperative than ever that we keep them clean! Our electronics can easily become breeding grounds for germs and bacteria if we’re not careful. Start by identifying which electronic devices you use most often, and then aim to clean each of those thoroughly once a week. An even better practice is to give them a quick wipe-down every day!

Today I’m going to walk you through the steps to getting those electronics germ-free and sparkly!

Cleaning Your Electronics


To clean your laptop, you’ll want to get a can of compressed air. You can find these at any office supply store. They’re incredibly useful for helping to blast dust and dirt out of the areas they like to hide, such as the keyboard, your ports, and the air vents. Make sure to give these areas a few good passes with your compressed air.

Cleaning Your Electronics

Next, give your keyboard and trackpad a good wipe-down. I recommend using something alcohol-based for cleaning all your electronics, because it will eliminate bacteria and it dries quickly. I used some lens-cleaning wipes and electronic cleaning wipes interchangeably throughout my cleaning because they were handy, but if you’ve got some rubbing alcohol lying around, just use a bit of that on a paper towel and you’ll get the same effect. If you’ve got a lot of gunk between the keys, try dipping a q-tip in alcohol and running it between and around your keys.

Cleaning Your Electronics

Now it’s time to tackle that screen. I wiped it down first with a lens-cleaning wipe (the electronic cleaning wipes or alcohol would work just as well), and then I gave it a second go-over with a microfiber lens-cleaning cloth. If you don’t already have a lens-cleaning cloth in your home, I would highly recommend picking one up. Alcohol-based wipes are perfect for getting grimy messes and fingerprints off your electronics, but they can often leave tracks of their own. So I like to use a two-part system for screens, alcohol then microfiber cloth, to make sure that my screens are super clean and shiny.

Cleaning Your Electronics

After the screen is clean, take a look at your ports. Pretty dusty and a bit grimy, like mine? Go over them with your compressed air, and then use your alcohol wipes to get the grimy stuff out.

Cleaning Your Electronics

I snapped one end off a q-tip and wrapped an alcohol wipe around it in order to clean my power port. Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend shoving a q-tip deep into the ports, but some shallow cleaning is fine. :-)

Cleaning Your Electronics

Tablets & Smartphones

Once my laptop was clean, I moved onto my tablet. One word for tablets: SMEARS. Smear-y fingerprints everywhere! Never fear, a screen-cleaning wipe will make short work of them.

Cleaning Your Electronics

After blasting the headphone jack and plug port with compressed air, wipe them down with your trusty lens-cleaning cloth. Easy!

I did the same process on my phone that I did on the tablet. Although I didn’t take any pictures of it, I also made sure to clean my phone CASE, inside and outside, with alcohol wipes. There’s no point in putting a dirty case back onto your clean phone!

Cleaning Your Electronics


That takes care of mobile devices, but what about desktop computers? The process is essentially the same as for the laptop computer, with the exception of the mouse.

Cleaning Your Electronics

Computer mouses can get pretty gross! Not only does the top get smeary and sticky, but the underside collects dust and grime too. Give it a good wipe with an alcohol wipe, and if you’ve got an optical mouse, give it a blast with the compressed air. If you’ve got a ball mouse, you can remove it to make sure it’s clean all the way around.

Cleaning Your Electronics

Desktop keyboards can take a lot of abuse. If you’re like me your desk often doubles as your “dining table” at lunch time, so crumbs and spills can be a problem. Also, dirty hands over time can cause some serious grimy build-up on the keys. So if wiping your keyboard down with alcohol wipes just isn’t enough, I swear by magic erasers.

Cleaning Your Electronics

Using a little section of a magic eraser will get all the icky ground-in oil and dirt off your keys with minimal effort. You’ll be amazed! A word of caution though: you’ll want to be careful if you’ve got an aluminum keyboard like the one shown here, because you don’t want to scratch it. Keep your magic eraser on the plastic parts as much as possible.

Cleaning Your Electronics

As for your monitor, just make sure that you’ve wiped it down (alcohol then microfiber!) and that your ports are clean. Done! Your computer will be so happy. :-)

Cleaning Your Electronics

See? It’s not so hard to get your electronics clean and germ-free. And once you’ve done it a few times, it becomes a task that takes only a minute or two to accomplish. Those shiny, germ-free screens will keep you happier and healthier!

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • Great post!!!! I’m really picky about keyboards at work because people can be really gross. Since it’s not theirs, they don’t bother to clean up. I’ve been known to pop the keys right out of the board if the q-tip is not enough so I can really get the gunk out.

  • Lets not forget those trusty landlines as well. At home and at work. Use the same procedure as you do for your other electronics and you will have a head start on not catching someone else’s cold/flu whatever. I do this whenever some else uses my phone. Ewww! And once a week or so at home.

    And then there’s those remotes. Don’t even get me started … Especially the ones in hotels or motels.

    Sigh, this could go on forever…

    Thank’s Jillee.

    • Cory–when we go to hotels we bring a few extra plastic bags–just toss the remote in a bag & you are good to go. Just be sure to have a few bags because often the cleaning staff will take remove the bag to the trash. If you forget your bag you can use the complimentary shower cap left for you or the bag they give to line the ice bucket. For the hotel phone: pick up the receiver & cover the phone with a shower cap then either scrub the receiver or use another bag to cover it. Again, know that the staff may remove them so have a spare set.

  • Totally agree with all of your cleaning techniques! At least once a day, I also use the OXO Good Grips Electronics Cleaning Brush (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0050B6CYW/ref=oh_details_o08_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) only $4.99 with a silicone “tip” to get between keys on one end and a brush on the other.

    Even better than compressed air to get down between keyboard keys is scotch tape ~ I use about a 3-inch piece facing one way then turn it upside down to use the opposite (clean) edge facing the other way between the same keys. It takes a little time and quite a few strips of tape, but it gets tiny particles from deeper between the keys than anything else I’ve used. Even if you only do it once a month, it’s a great addition to your other cleaning techniques.

    Using the compressed air to regularly clean the vents on your laptop can extend the life of the computer, too.

    Love your blog!

  • I just did this a few days ago!! I used Clorox wipes on my iMac keyboard. I had tried Vinegar and Qtips before, no luck. Clorox wipes cleaned it in a jiffy!! My keys were sooooo disgusting. I should’ve taken a before and after pic for my husband to prove to him how dirty his hands are.

  • Rather than purchase compressed air, I use my vacuum cleaner.
    I like the scotch tape idea for keyboards.
    Great tips. Re-use the clorox wipes; i save these tough fiber cloths and then re-use with alcohol, etc.

  • My iPad’s microphone doesn’t work well bc there’s dust in there. Compressed air didn’t help. I’ve read you can vacuum it but you’ve got to somehow close up the space around the hose to get the vacuum to really get it out. Haven’t done that yet. Thinking I’ll try tape first since it can’t hurt.

    Anyone use another method that works?

  • Great post! I’m a teacher and take my iPad to school to use with students — you don’t want to know how germy and grimy it gets! I bought a pack of those little alcohol wipes people with diabetes use before injections (found them for a dollar something at Walmart) & have been using them on my iPad and cell phone as soon as I get home from school each day. So quick and does a good job cleaning.

  • Ladies, if you own mac’s, it is best to carefully read the fine print on screen cleaning. I have a very large Apple monitor and I was told expressly by the Apple guys NOT to use wipes with alcohol in them on the screen, a slightly damp with water cloth was allowed but no alcohol, it will ruin the coating on the glass.


    • I just aquired an iPad and was told exactly the same thing by all my techie friends…NO cleaning wipes or alchohol in that particular device! However, when I do use the alchohol on my laptop and PC and phones, I use a cotton pad with it. I find that the alchohol just evaporates too quickly from a paper towel

  • I open my laptop, turn it upside down & gently shake crumbs out. Not all laptops are as tough as my Toshiba, but I haven’t had a problem with damage. I also use microfiber cloth that came with my eyeglasses to clean the screens and lenses on electronics. No smears or smudges! Thanks Jillee.

  • Am I the only one curious about where the personalized microfiber cloth came from?

    I keep a separate laundry bin for all microfiber, since it picks up thread and other stuff from all the other clothes, I wash it all on its own when the bin is full. I clean my house with the big cloths from Sam’s Club/Costco, so I end up with a good amount of them.

  • I actually ruined a pair of $500.00 eyeglasses using alcohol which a friend recommended I do because it worked for her. I never did that again even though the gals at the eye doctor’s office said it would be okay. Really? Even with my antireflective coating? No way.

    I also ruined the small screen in front of a word processor I was renting, back in the day, by cleaning it with alcohol.

  • Question: How can I get one of those OGT cleaning cloths?

    If you use a shared computer at work/school use Glad Press n Seal to cover the keyboard. It is not a very green solution but its better than getting the flu. They also sell keyboard skin covers that you can use & I suppose you can sanitize that everyday, but they come in lots of sizes and at my job it probably would have “walked away”.

  • One of the computer techs I used to work with said that if you unplug the keyboard you can just wash it off in the shower. I haven’t tried it, but it makes sense.

    • You used to be able to put the old Mac keyboards (not laptops) in the dishwasher. I don’t know if I would try it with newer ones.

      One important note — always make sure your computers are turned off before you start wiping the screen.

    • My brother has been a systems analyst for 30+ years. He also recommended giving a keyboard a bath, literally. I doubted at first and started with three keyboards in the computer dungeon at work. They had all been identified at non-functional. Two of the three worked after having several days (about 5) to dry out. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to do this with a laptop (HA!), but after that I subversively went around to everyone’s work stations and swapped out usable keyboards (since we all use ergonomic) for their dirty ones. Eventually everyone had a washed keyboard, and we were all less ill over the winter months!

      I can’t speak on bluetooth or wireless keyboards, but this was a great solution for wired ones!

  • Whenever I travel, even if I’m staying in a hotel just for 1 night, I bring either a can of lysol (or my clorox wipes) with me to spray down the phone and remote (among other things). Hotel rooms are notorious for not being cleaned the way they’re supposed to. I carry a canister of the wipes in the car and periodically wipe down the steering wheel and controls, etc, too. They’re also handy for cleaning hands after pumping gas. Thanks for a great post, Jillee!

    • Glad I’m not the only one! My family makes fun of me, but the first thing I do when I get to a hotel is wipe down all the logical surfaces with antibacterial wipes. The curtain pulls, door handles, light switches, knobs/levers in the bathroom, etc.

      And you couldn’t pay me to walk barefoot on a hotel floor either!

  • Wow! I do need this. Thank you so much for the great tips. I will be using them. I will also pin this for later.

    Diane Roark
    recipesforourdailybread com

  • I actually had the wipes but they got all dried up. Awhile back Jillee posted her homemade cleaner for electronics. It just used distilled water, white vinegar or Alcohol. Just spray directly onto a microfiber cloth. I made some. It works great on my phone, iPad and my tv.

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