Know what lurks on your devices

Spring is in the air but gunk is in your gadgets. There are the smudges and crumbs you can see and the creepy-crawly bacterium that you can’t (and would rather not). Studies have shown that infection-causing E coli and Staphylococcus aureus, fecal matter (yep), and just plain dirt are hanging out on your tech.

That might make you want to dunk everything into a vat of bleach, but it wouldn’t be the best thing for you or your devices. Instead, grab some microfiber cloths, Q-tips, distilled water, isopropyl alcohol and dish soap and read our guide to getting your gadgets gleaming.

Note: Before you clean anything, unplug it or turn it off.

 Smartphone and tablet

Say what you will but you’ve probably taken your smartphone or tablet into less than sanitary conditions (we are talking about the bathroom). You wash your hands but then you pick up your phone or tablet — and all the germs that have now attached themselves to it. It’s a gross fact that phones tend to have 10 times the bacteria that toilet seats do.

To scrub a phone or tablet that does not have a screen protector, you have to take extra care since it might have an oleophobic (fingerprint-resistant) coating that could come off. The gentlest way to clean it is to take distilled water and a microfiber cloth to wipe down the phone. Use Q-tips to clean around crevices.

 

If your device has a screen protector on it, whether it’s tempered glass or just thin plastic, get together some isopropyl alcohol, distilled water, a spray bottle and a microfiber cloth. Pour one part alcohol and one part water into the spray bottle and then spritz a lint-free cloth with the solution and wipe down the phone.

To keep your phone or tablet clean on a regular basis, keep some wipes, like Wireless Wipes, handy and swab it down daily. If you want to be fancy, then you can carry Well-Kept Screen-Cleansing Towelettes with you and use those. They come in small patterned packages that fit neatly into pants pockets or purses.

 

Laptop

Because your laptop travels, it has plenty of opportunity to pick up unsavory characters. Turn your laptop upside down and (gently) shake out the keyboard to rid yourself of the biggest and most obvious invaders: dirt and crumbs. Then grab a can of compressed air duster and blast it.

Now make sure your laptop is not only unplugged but that the battery is removed. Lightly dampen a microfiber cleaning cloth and go over all the plastic or metal surfaces.