Mar 17, 2020 By Team YoungWonks *
With the world under lockdown due to the spread of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), self-isolation is becoming the norm. And while this means less going out and socialising (if not putting a stop to it entirely), it also translates into increased consumption of power and Internet at home. This in turn will be possible thanks to an increase in the use of electronic devices at home - be it smartphones, tablets and computers.
In the light of this development, it is more important than ever to take note of how one needs to clean or maintain the cleanliness of one’s electronic devices. This blog then shares exactly what steps one has to take to ensure that not only do we stay clean ourselves (by washing our hands with soap as often as possible), but also keep the surfaces one is in constant contact with, clean.
For starters, it is recommended that one checks the manufacturer’s instructions, since the use of some products is not advised. Keeping that in mind, here are key steps one can follow while cleaning one’s electronic devices:
How to Clean a Computer, Laptop or TV screen: Even if one has not had a cold, cough or fever or if one hasn’t really touched his/ her laptop/ computer screen, it is prudent to clean one’s computer/ laptop screen. Besides the health benefit, cleaning the screen will also help one get a clearer view.
a. First off, to avoid damage or a shock, one should turn off power to the machine. For computers, power down and then unplug the device; also unplug the individual monitors. In case of laptops, unplug them and remove their batteries if possible.
b. Next step is to gently wipe the monitor/ screen free of smears or dust with a dry, soft and lint-free microfiber cloth; often they are provided by the manufacturer. If this doesn’t help much, opt for a solution of diluted dish soap.
c. Here’s what you should NOT do to clean the screens:
• Do not use aerosol sprays, solvents, or abrasives.
• Do not use any other liquid other than warm water.
• Do not spray a liquid directly on the screen.
• Do not use a hard cloth.
• Do not use your fingernail or a sharp object to scratch out the stubborn stains.
d. Next step is to add just one drop of soap to warm water. Now, dip a clean microfiber cloth into the solution and wring it well. This is quite important when one is cleaning laptops, since there is a high possibility of the liquid dripping down into the keyboard.
e. Gently wipe the screen with the dampened cloth. Rinse all the soap out of this cloth, and wring it out again.
f. Make it a point to gently wipe your screen one more time, this time with a dry microfiber cloth to remove any moisture left behind by the liquid. Do not replace batteries or switch on the power till the keys are fully dry.
Ideally, screens and touchscreen devices should be clean everyday. In such cases typically one needn’t use the disinfectant solution on a daily basis: instead, just wiping with a dry microfiber cloth should do the job. If you wish to be more thorough, replace it with a slightly damp microfiber cloth and make sure the power is off before you start wiping.
How to Clean Computer Keyboard: Given how common it is for people to eat snacks or have lunch at their desk these days, gummy keyboards are not exactly a rare phenomenon today.
Here are a few steps one can follow to clean one's computer or laptop keyboard:
a. Like in the case of the screen/ monitor, it is safe to disconnect the power source first. It is also better to unplug the keyboard from the computer. If you are using a wireless keyboard, take out the batteries. Laptops should be unplugged as well and remove their batteries too, if possible.
b. Next step is to spray the keyboard with canned air to remove leftover crumbs or dust.
c. Then dab a cotton swab in gentle rubbing alcohol. Avoid oversaturating the swab, as you do not want moisture to seep into the keyboard.
d. Go over each key in a light circular motion. Also, it is recommended to carry out a spot test to make sure the alcohol won’t affect the lettering on the keys.
e. Lastly, dry the keys with a microfiber cloth. Do not replace batteries or switch on the power till the keys are fully dry.
How to Clean Mobile Phones and Tablets: Given how much we use our mobile phones through the day and day after day, it is not that surprising that smartphone screens are germ pools; in fact, they are often said to have more bacteria than a toilet. Unfortunately, that’s not just a dirty rumor. Tablets are not far behind either.
Here are the steps to disinfect mobile phones and tablets:
a. Get a touchscreen-safe antimicrobial spray and a microfiber cloth.
b. As with your computers, laptops, TVs and keyboards, switch off your electronics.
c. Spray the microfiber cloth but in a manner that doesn’t oversaturate it.
d. Wipe across the screen and avoid the openings.
e. Finish by wiping the screen dry with a fresh microfiber cloth.
How to Clean Phone and Tablet Covers:
Just cleaning phones and tablets is not enough; it is also imperative to clean the phone and tablet covers. Here’s how you can do this:
a. Remove the phone/ tablet from its cover.
b. Add a few drops of dish soap to warm water and mix it.
c. Dip the cleaning cloth into the solution so as to dampen and not oversaturate it.
d. Wipe the cover with the cleaning cloth.
e. Rinse the cloth till it runs clean and then wring it out.
f. Wipe the cover again to remove soap.
g. Keep the cover aside to air dry it for a few hours or wipe it with a dry cloth or paper towel.
h. Ensure that the cover is fully dry before placing your phone/ tablet in it.
How to pick the right disinfectant for your electronic device:
Lysol or Clorox disinfectant wipes typically work well as they kill 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria. In fact, Apple recently announced its new guidelines which state that one can use Clorox wipes and or wipes with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol to clean their products. However, the use of bleach is not recommended as it has a corrosive effect on electronic circuitry.
Keeping one’s electronic devices - especially those one uses on a daily basis, such as computers, laptops and mobile devices - clean is very helpful when it comes to reducing the spread of germs. With COVID-19 becoming a pandemic, it is even more essential for us today to take precautions and stay clean.
Here are some extra precautions one can take:
a. Try to wash your hands as often as possible.
b. Clean the contact points - which are typically touched/ contacted by several people in the course of a day - as many times as possible. Door knobs, handles or locks, stair rails, taps, toilet handles and stove knobs are a few examples. Among electronic devices, light switches, remote controls, refrigerator handles, copiers and scanners are key contact points.
c. Clean the communal items in the house / workplace. This could be the bedding, sofa cover, hand towels, etc.
d. Wash the microfiber cloths that are used for cleaning on a regular basis: Soak the microfiber cloths in hot soapy water for two to three minutes, followed by rinsing the cloth in warm water till all the soap has been washed out. Hang the cloth out to dry or put it in the dryer.
e. Make sure that if you are using a disinfectant, you leave it on for the required time as mentioned on the bottle/ packaging.
*Contributors: Written by Vidya Prabhu; Lead image by: Leonel Cruz