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The pandemic has reminded us the importance of disinfecting both our surroundings and our hands. We take time to wipe down our shopping carts and maybe even use our elbow to press the elevator button.

However, we often times forget about our handheld devices. Over the last year, our phones, tablets and computers have played a major role in our day-to-day lives. Below are some tips and tricks on how to properly disinfect your gadgets.

For Starters

Nothing should ever be sprayed directly onto the device. First, spray a disinfectant solution on a microfiber cloth, then wipe the device with it. When using paper towels instead of a microfibre cloth, you risk causing scratches or leaving bits of the paper towel behind.

Chemical cleaners should not be used on any device’s screen as it may can cause damage (including disinfectant wipes). Electronic wipes or a screen cleaner, such as Insignia’s Monitor Cleaner Wipes, should be used instead.

Before and after using your device, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer, especially if it is shared with others.

Laptops

If you have the right tools, you can clean a laptop from the inside out. You can blow out the dust with compressed air. The keyboard and other high-touch surfaces can be disinfected with isopropyl alcohol or ethanol. You should be more careful with the screen, especially if it’s plastic because alcohol and other chemicals can damage the finish.

Keyboards

Keyboards are fairly durable, most of us do not replace them on a regular basis. This means they’re usually covered in germs. Most keyboards can be cleaned piece by piece.

To begin, take out the keys and clean them with a cloth or brush. Blast any dust or crumbs out of the chassis with compressed air.

You can buy specialty brushes and hand vacuums, but they aren’t necessary if you remove the keycaps for a thorough cleaning.

Smartphones and Tablets

Disinfecting wipes or rubbing alcohol can be used to clean your smartphone’s screen and chassis. The greatest risk is that you will accelerate the wear on the display’s oleophobic (oil repelling) coating. If you keep your phone in a case, remove it and thoroughly wash the case in hot soapy water. While you’re at it, use an alcohol-based disinfectant on the rest of your phone. Regardless of its waterproof rating, you should never immerse your phone in water or any other liquid.

To protect your phone or tablet (especially the screen), avoid using harsh cleaning agents such as bleach, window cleaners, creme cleansers, or any other detergent-based agents. These will degrade the oleophobic coating and may leave your screen streaky or foggy.

The same advice applies to tablets, which are essentially large smartphones. We recommend adding a screen protector to your device.

Televisions and Monitors

You should only use a damp microfibre cloth to clean it (wring out as much water as you can, the cloth should only feel damp to the touch). Avoid using harsh cleaning products or anything containing detergent. These chemicals can (and will) damage the screen’s surface, leaving streaks or making the display foggy and difficult to see. Furthermore, once you damage the surface, there is no turning back. Cooling fans are built into some monitors and televisions. Dusting the back, sides, or top of your monitor, depending on its technology, can greatly aid in heat dissipation. Because heat is the enemy of all things electronic, removing dust buildup should help the display last longer.

Whether you want to protect against COVID-19 or simply give all of your gadgets a thorough cleaning while you’re stuck at home, now is the time! Here’s how to clean your tech gadgets safely and without causing any damage.