Our devoted devices have been taking a serious pounding lately with our ‘work from home’ routines. Now you may be easing back into office life, so it would be smart to give them a serious sanitization before exposing them to the public again. Here’s how…
Keep it Clean
Pandemic, or no pandemic, we should be taking regular care of our devices. It’s only now become starkly apparent that we need to be more vigilant. Any devices you use on a regular basis such as your smartphone, laptop, keyboard and mouse, headphones, and tablet will need a little bit more TLC than usual. If you have been working form home there’s likely a plethora of invisible nasties (and the odd crumb) lurking amongst the qwerty assortment so now’s the perfect time to get them gleaming.
What to clean with
When it comes to cleaning devices, going back to basics is best. Of course, sanitizers are all the rage now so you can make use of these but use sparingly and not on all surfaces. We advise a simple combo of the following;
• Distilled water
• Microfiber cloths
• Isopropyl alcohol
• Dish soap
How to clean
Gently but intently is the best method here. It may take some microwork to get into all of the nooks and crannies too, so take your time. The gentlest way to clean your device is to take distilled water and a barely textured microfiber cloth and wipe it down. Use cotton swabs to clean around crevices. These are more nimble and work better along edges and ridges.
For laptops, and external keyboards, a fun (and revealing) method is to turn it upside down and gently shake out the keyboard to rid yourself of dirt and crumbs. Make sure it’s powered off and unplugged first. If you can get your hands on a compressed air canister use this after cleaning to get a deeper clean. Then lightly dampen a microfiber cleaning cloth and go over all of the plastic or metal surfaces.
For touch screens, use water or eyeglass cleaner applied to the microfiber cloth. Remember to give chargers and cables a good wipe down too as they can get grubby from being on the floor. Just be careful not to add too much moisture to the connections. If you have a case on your phone or tablet, water, and a microfiber cloth will do just the trick here too – just be sure it’s thoroughly dry before you pop it back on.
What not to do
Resist the urge to scrub a phone or tablet too hard since most of them feature a fingerprint-resistant coating or ‘oleophobic’ layer on the screens that could be rubbed off. Be careful if you wash your phone down with an alcohol-based solution, too. Even a screen protector is likely to have this layer on it so be mindful of that. Wipes and gels with a very high concentration of alcohol can damage that layer.
Always avoid cleaning solutions that contain bleach or abrasives, and stay away from rough cloths. These may tarnish metal surfaces and the finish of a phone’s and cause micro-abrasions in glass that will dull its surface – and no-one likes that now do we? Never spray water or moisture directly onto a device, instead, apply a small amount on the corner of the microfiber cloth and work around.
Apple has recently given the ‘OK’ to use disinfectant wipes on your devices, albeit gently: “Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces. Don’t use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don’t submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents. Don’t use on fabric or leather surfaces.”
Top tip: For LED and LCD devices consider a cleaning product that is purposely made for these as the screens, are they particularly fragile.
In a pandemic that involves the virus spreading through touch, it could be worth re-considering how many surfaces and devices you actually need to touch at home and at work. Try researching some handsfree options such as the popular voice assists Alexa or Google Assistant. There are lots of affordable and stylish smart lights, speakers, and appliances out there too. Imagine never needing to physically get up from the sofa to turn these on and off? We are not advocating #ThatSlothLife, of course, but it’s in the good name of health and safety, right?