How to Clean and Disinfect Your Electronics

April 19, 2022

Claire Hebert

Claire Hebert

The majority of regularly used electronic devices, such as computers, phones, and tablets, are dust magnets that collect, bacteria, and other diseases. 

Electronics are subjected to a daily assault of dirt and contaminants that can make us sick, ranging from smudges and smears to viruses and germs.

Before you go into panic mode grab some microfiber cloths, cotton swabs, distilled water, isopropyl alcohol, and dish soap, and follow those instructions for shining up your gadgets after you disconnect or switch them off.

Don’t forget- clean electronics and a tidy workspace can lead to more productivity!


Many of those device manufacturers offer similar recommendations:

  • 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.
  • Avoid aerosol sprays and cleaning solutions that contain bleach or abrasives.

Headphones and Earphones

Your headphones and earphones are among your most intimate possessions, so besides germs and bacteria, you’re dealing with sweat and earwax.

Since headphones and earphones are delicate gadgets, they need delicate care too.

  • Dip a cotton swab in the combination of a teaspoon of mild detergent with a cup of water and use it to clean them carefully. 
  • You can swab in the alcohol mixture if you are concerned about germs too.
  • Follow that with a swipe of water on a cloth.
  • Dry all the components completely.

Phone and Tablet

There is not so much to do with phones and tablets because they have oleophobic (fingerprint-resistant) coatings that can be damaged, and tempered-glass screen protectors likely have the same coating but it’s easily replaceable and won’t cause damage to the device itself. 

Manufacturers generally recommend wiping them down with distilled water and a barely textured microfiber cloth, then using cotton swabs to clean around crevices, like the edges of the screen and buttons.

Before you put a case back on your device, go over the case with the solution and a cloth and let it dry completely. 

Laptop and a Desktop PC

Using your laptop and Desktop Pc for extended periods can collect potentially harmful dust and bacteria into hard-to-reach areas.

  • Unplug the laptop and remove the battery. 
  • Turn your laptop upside-down and gently shake out the keyboard to get rid of crumbs.
  • Gently wipe the monitor free of smears or dust using a microfiber cloth.
  • If this doesn’t work, buy screen-cleaning kits for laptops and desktop pc. These kits include a cleaner specially designed for laptop screens and usually come with their microfiber cloth that won’t scratch or leave little pieces of lint behind. 
  • Microfiber cloth should be damp, but not dripping. This is especially true when wiping down a keyboard.
  • Finish up by wiping down the keyboard with your alcohol-and-water solution.
  • Make sure everything is dry before plugging it back in.

When cleaning a laptop or any other device the most critical thing is to never apply the cleaning products you are using directly onto devices.

Do not use regular glass cleaners, particularly those that contain ammonia, on any laptop screen. They can damage the screen.

The inside of your computer

Depending on your environment, you need to dust your computer every three to six months. 

Dust and other unwanted dirt can build up and suffocate your PC’s hardware and cleaning it, can help your computer run more smoothly and extend your computer lifespan. 

  • Turn off your computer and unplug it.
  • Open up your computer’s case.
  • Use canned air to clean the dust buildup out of the fan and the case. Try to remain at least a few inches away from the surface of the motherboard, memory, processor, and expansion cards.
  • Use cotton swabs to pick up any dirt on the fan vents or other small gaps on the outside of the case.
  • Make sure everything is dry before plugging it back in.

Don’t use a vacuum cleaner. A vacuum can create static electricity that can damage computer components.

For laptops, check the manual for instructions on cleaning or safe case opening.


Keyboards have lots of germs and are potential virus havens. 

  • Keyboards should be unplugged and then shaken. 
  • Clean by gently wiping them down by using a 70% alcohol solution or disinfecting wipes. 
  • Get a toothbrush and run the brush through the space between your keys it’ll be as clean as the day you bought it.
  • Stay away from bleach and don’t let moisture into the openings.
  • Make sure everything is dry before plugging it back in.


  • Unplug your mouse, if it’s wireless, remove any batteries inside the mouse.
  • Scrape out any dirt with a toothpick carefully getting into all the nooks and corners.
  • Use the canned air to blow out any remaining that you may have loosened with the toothpick but make sure to use the can right-side up so it blows air and not liquid!
  • Use alcohol wipes to thoroughly wipe down the mouse, removing any grease or dirt. 
  • Make sure everything is dry before plugging it back in.

Smartwatches and Fitness trackers 

Fitness trackers and smartwatches are designed to be worn all day and night, and as a result, they accumulate dirt over time and your device might not work as well as it should.

Smartwatches can’t charge correctly if their electrical connectors are dirty, and filth on the rear of the watch casing can interfere with the optical heart rate monitor’s signal. It can also cause skin discomfort, especially if sweat has collected and dried on the skin.

  • If the watch is water-resistant, rinse the watch in warm water to remove as much dirt and grime as possible before disinfecting it.
  • Soak a cotton ball in isopropyl alcohol to remove particularly stubborn dirt.

When cleaning the strap make sure to remember that they can be made from a variety of materials, such as leather, silicone, metal, and even fabric, and some cleaning supplies can be harmful to them.

Disinfecting wipes will be fine for rubber and metal bands, but they’ll be hated by leather or fabric. 

Always check with the manufacturer to determine which options are best for your strap.

Woman wiping her laptop.

Device cleaning don’ts

  • Don’t use bleach or water—both can cause damage to any device. 
  • Don’t use paper towels to wipe screens; it can leave behind particles that get stuck in small crevices. 
  • Don’t spray cleaning solution directly onto your device. 
  • Don’t forget your accessories. Charging cables, phone cases, and laptop sleeves should be wiped down regularly following the same general guidelines you use for your devices. 

Remember that if you break something by not following the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, your warranty will be void. 

Be sure to wash your hands, or all your cleaning will have been for nothing.

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