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Quick guide: cleaning electronics

Cleaning electronics devices can be tricky, as they tend to attract and harbour dust – this is especially true for equipment like laptops, desktop computers and televisions, all of which may have vents or fans that allow dirt to get inside, but can be difficult to clean out again.

This is a quick guide to cleaning electronic devices around the home or office, including some of the ‘usual suspects’ that we all use on a daily basis, but may only clean very occasionally, if at all.

Of course, to really clean out certain equipment, you would need to completely remove its outer casing – but where possible, we have offered alternatives that will allow you to routinely remove the worst of the dirt, without having to dismantle your devices.

1. Check the manual

Always clean in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, especially if the device is particularly valuable, or you don’t want to void a warranty that is still in date.

Manuals are often neglected, but can hold useful tips and tricks when it comes to cleaning time – such as the correct way to remove a protective cover.

You shouldn’t clean a device while it’s plugged in, switched on or still hot, although in some cases you might find dirt a little easier to shift if the device is slightly warm, compared with room temperature.

2. Cleaning computers

Remove loose dirt and debris first – wipe gently across the keyboard with a soft microfibre cloth, which should not leave fluff or lint behind, and make sure that if you use cleaning fluids, you apply them to the cloth and not directly to any part of the computer.

Cans of compressed air can be used to spray small pieces of debris out from between the keys, and are not expensive to buy from office supply shops.

If your system is touchscreen, just make sure that you don’t use any potentially harmful or abrasive chemicals to clean the screen – a few finger marks are a small price to pay for a display that still works as it’s supposed to.

3. Mobile phones

Be careful not to get the phone wet or allow cleaning chemicals to come into contact with any circuitry or the sim card.

Remove any third-party protective cases or covers as appropriate, and wipe over the screen and keys with a non-harmful wipe – again, you can buy wipes designed especially for this kind of task quite cheaply.

4. Televisions

Flatscreen TVs mean there is not so much dust to deal with on the top of your telly, but it’s still worth giving them a onceover with a clean microfibre duster every so often.

Again, you can clean the screen occasionally as needed, and unless you have a smart TV with touchscreen capabilities, you should find most gentle cleaning fluids or commercially available screen wipes do a decent job without causing any harm.

5. Remote controls

Don’t forget to clean your remotes! Those trusty alcohol wipes are a good way to start here too, while canned air or even a cotton bud can be used to get in amongst the keys for a really deep clean.

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