The Safest (and Best!) Way to Clean Your Light Switches and Electrical Coverings

May 6, 2022

Claire Hebert

Claire Hebert

Spring is on its way, and everyone is happy and excited about it. But it’s also time to give your house a good clean.

You may have your spring to-do list as part of your regular cleaning routine; you’re probably pretty used to wiping down every prominent spot: windows, floors, appliances, sinks, and toilets.

But did you know that there are some other places we have to have on our to-do list, and they are an often-overlooked site for the accumulation of germs?

However, there are still a lot of items we don’t think about cleaning, such as light switches and electrical coverings.

When it comes to cleaning, there are still a lot of items we don’t think about cleaning, such as light switches and electrical coverings. It’s not the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to maintenance. You must, however, clean them regularly, so let’s discover how and why!

The Why 

When you consider how many times a day the average light switch is handled by various people, it’s easy to understand how light switches and electrical coverings may become some of the dirtiest surfaces in your home or workplace.

After all, hands come into contact with them several times during the day, each time depositing a fresh coating of germs, and that’s why you must clean them regularly, especially during cold and flu season.

You may reduce your exposure to germs and bacteria that could make you sick by carefully cleaning these surfaces throughout your house. Meanwhile, you’ll keep your home in tip-top shape, down to the tiniest of details.

However, considering the inherent risks of working with electrical current, you must be diligent while cleaning your switch outlet covers and electrical coverings.

How Often do You have to Clean Light switches and Electrical Coverings?

Bacteria and viruses may survive for weeks on hard surfaces. As a result, it’s critical to add this cleaning task to your routine. After getting the coverings, don’t forget the other electronics in your house!

Ideally, you should wipe them down at least once a week, if not more frequently, in busy areas of your home.


One of the most important things to consider before cleaning them is that light switches and electrical coverings are electrical. It is critical to clean them properly to keep yourself and your house safe.

Not sure where to begin?  

Here are some easy tips and tricks to properly clean your switch covers and electrical coverings to prevent the spread of germs and keep them looking new while staying safe.

Turn off the power (Safety first!)

It’s advised not to try this while the power to an outlet or light switch is turned on; as long as the switches and outlets don’t have power, it’s safe and quick.

Cleaning Light Switches and Electrical Covers: Step By Step

Collect Cleaning Supplies

To begin, double-check that you have all of the necessary items:

  • a microfiber cloth 
  • Small brush
  • cleaning/disinfecting solution
  • soap and warm water
  • screwdriver
Spray cleaning via towel

Remove Your Covers

While it may be tempting to save time by spraying your covers in place instead of removing them before cleaning, there are numerous reasons why this is not a good idea.

One of the primary and essential reasons is if you spray a switch or electrical cover that is still attached to the wall because of the risk of chemicals coming into contact with open electrical circuits, it’ll cause an electrical short circuit.

The only method to clean your switch and outlet cover safely and correctly is to gently remove them off the switch after cutting off electricity to the outlet or switch at the breaker box.

Removing covers will take the most time out of the overall procedure. (along with reinstalling plates once you’re done cleaning). Taking the covers off will also allow you to get a deep clean.  

Make sure to gather loose screws in a cup or bag to prevent them from being lost.

Determine the Type of Cover Material

It’s critical to identify the switch and electrical coverings material since specialized cleaning procedures may differ based on the material used.

Plastic, nylon, or acrylic are the most common materials for switch covers. On the other hand, others might be formed of metals like steel, silver, or brass. Exotic wood switch covers need further attention. 

Dusting and Swabbing

The fun part we were waiting, disinfecting!

If the switch and electrical covers need a clean, soak them in a solution of warm water and dish soap for a few minutes. While waiting for them to soak, clean the light switches and electrical covers. 

Spray a cleaning solution onto a paper towel or microfiber towel to clean the switch or outlet; never spray directly onto the switch or electrical itself. 

Spraying onto the switch or electrical cover might cause electrical damage when you turn the power back on.

Cleaning Deeper with a Small Brush

Using the tips of your cleaning brush dipped in rubbing alcohol, scrub the corners and grooves of the light switch or wiring where dirt collects.

Rubbing alcohol is excellent for dissolving the oils that migrate from our palms to light switches and produce the gunk that binds dirt and debris together. Any filth on the wall around the outlet can be removed with a melamine cleaning sponge.

Allow Outlets to Dry 

Check on the platings that have been soaking after the switches and outlets have been cleaned. To eliminate the filth, you may need to rinse them in hot water and clean them. 

When you use rubbing alcohol instead of water or a cleaning solution for the edges and grooves, the outlets will dry quickly since the rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly. If you used water or other cleaning solutions, allow a few minutes for them to dry. You can hasten the process by blotting with paper towels or opening a window.


All that’s left to do now is reattach your wallplates once cleaned. Replace the switch covers in their proper placements and screw them in while the outlet is still turned off. Turn the breaker back on after completing the re-installation of all covers on the circuit to restore electricity.

Cleaning your switch and outlet covers is a must, and it’s thankfully a simple procedure. Since you’re near the wall, tackle those scuffs and marks!

Restore Power

Time to turn the power back and enjoy your freshly cleaned and disinfected light switches and electrical coverings!

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  • The Safest (and Best!) Way to Clean Your Light Switches and Electrical Coverings

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