Smartphone, laptop, AirPods, electronic office ID badges—chances are you own almost all of these office tech devices. Chances that you clean them? Probably not as high.
There are a million reasons we might not clean tech products—laziness (guilty as charged), they don’t “look” dirty (but ew they are: cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats), or simply because we don’t know how.
Sorry for grossing you out. The good news is, we have curated a list of simple office tech cleaning methods that can help keep you and your co-workers safe and productive in your corporate HQ or makeshift home office.
Now it’s time to take that extra pack of antibacterial wipes you’re hoarding and use them to clean these 10 tech products:
Smartphone / Tablet
Now that you know your toilet is cleaner than your phone, put down that plunger and grab a cloth.
Phones and tablets contain a fancy fingerprint-resistant coating called oleophobic that can be damaged by certain cleaning products. Manufacturers recommend wiping down your phone or tablet screen with a microfiber cloth and distilled water.
To clean between buttons, you can use a cotton swab, and a microfiber cloth can be used to clean the camera lens to avoid blurry photos.
Be sure to steer clear of cleaning fluids like window spray! If you are using an Apple product, the company has said that it is safe to use a Clorox Disinfecting Wipe or a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe.
Is your QWERTY looking dirty? It’s time to clean your laptop.
It’s a good idea to start with the keyboard. Good Housekeeping suggests first using a can of compressed air to blow any dust or crumbs that may be stuck between the keys on the keyboard.
The next step is to use a disinfecting wipe to clean the top of the keyboard and the keys. Be sure you use light pressure while doing so, as you do not want to soak the keyboard with the disinfectant.
To clean an LCD screen, use an LCD screen cleaner with a microfiber cloth to prevent streaks. For a touchscreen, you can use water or eyeglass cleaner with a microfiber cloth.
Headphones / Earbuds
Cleaning headphones is essential, especially if you use them at the gym. The disgusting truth is, in-ear headphones can contribute to bacterial growth in your ears if not properly sanitized.
To start cleaning, if your earbuds have silicone tips, you can remove them and use warm soapy water and a cloth. If the earbud is foam, use a damp cloth and let them air dry.
If the metal grille on the earpiece is dirty, use a dry toothbrush to remove dirt. A warm soapy cloth can also be used to clean over-the-ear headphones and a cable if included.
Airpods and other headphones without ear tips should be cleaned only with a microfiber cloth and a dab of adhesive putty to remove wax and dust.
While a clean monitor may not solve Zoom call fatigue, a clear screen versus a streaky one is much more satisfying to stare at all day.
If you use an LCD screen, clean it with a microfiber cloth dampened with distilled water or another LCD screen cleaner. For a touch screen, use a microfiber cloth and water or eyeglass cleaner. Any plastic parts around the screen can be cleaned using window cleaner or water.
While you’re cleaning your monitor make sure to also clean your mouse. Use a microfiber cloth for the body of the mouse, and a cotton swab with a half isopropyl alcohol and half water solution to clean crevices.
While you may not physically touch your TV screen, it still collects a ton of dust and bacteria.
To clean a flat screen TV, apply water to a microfiber cloth and gently wipe down the screen. Avoid using a glass cleaner, as it can scratch the screen or damage the anti-reflective coating that many screens contain.
If smart speakers could speak, they would probably ask for a deep cleaning.
Smart speakers with screens can be cleaned with a screen-cleaning wipe, and the fabric parts with a microfiber cloth.
For plastic devices, you can use a slightly dampened microfiber cloth. If the grille is looking grimy, dab it with some adhesive putty first.
Play hard, clean harder. Game controllers and consoles can get particularly dirty.
When cleaning them, start by dusting off the console with a microfiber cloth or a Swiffer Duster. Then clean the console with a microfiber cloth dampened with water. To clean the crevices, dip a cotton swab into water.
For controllers, a mixture of part water-part isopropyl alcohol on a microfiber cloth will do the trick. Wipe the controller thoroughly and use a cotton swab for small spaces.
Smart Watches / Fitness Trackers
Just like headphones, these gadgets can get nasty.
If the screen isn’t waterproof, use a small amount of water on a microfiber cloth to clean it.
If you wear sunscreen or other skin products, use a skin cleanser like Cetaphil to clean the band. If there are stains on your band, try using a rubber eraser or a mixture of baking soda and water with a wet cloth.
Different band materials call for different cleaning methods: nylon bands can be cleaned with a mixture of dish detergent and water, metal bands with a lint-free cloth and water, and leather bands with water and a microfiber cloth.
Your remote control is probably sneezed on, dropped on a dirty floor, or touched with sticky hands almost every day.
To clean, Good Housekeeping recommends removing the batteries and then using a cloth dampened with a cleaning agent to wipe the surface. A cotton swab can be used for cleaning in between buttons.
A study by IT training company CBT Nuggets revealed that out of five common office items, electronic ID badges were the dirtiest among them all. Gross.
As some employees return to the office, new sanitary procedures are more important than ever.
Badges and plastic ID cards should be cleaned regularly with an antibacterial or alcohol wipe.
Ready to Clean?
Now that you know the grimy truth about your office tech, it’s time to get down to business.
So...what are you going to clean first?
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