How to Clean and Disinfect Electronics like Laptops, Desktops and Phones

health / productivity

Did you know that germs live longer on sleek non-absorbent surfaces, like electronics, than on absorbent surfaces like paper or cloths?

I believe the most touched objects in our lives are our electronics, more than the frequent contact points like switches and doorknobs, so cleaning and disinfecting them regularly is essential.

The key is to stay consistent and make a habit of it.

Here are the steps for a thorough surface clean:

  1. Either with a soft-bristle brush or with a lens blower (or if you’re comfortable and can be careful with, a compressed can of air) remove dust from the keyboard and crevices on your computer. Keep the keyboard or the laptop standing at an angle so the dust falls down on the work surface.
  2. Take a clean microfibre cloth and mist over it clean water or a cleaning solution that’s safe to use on electronics, and thoroughly wipe all the surfaces on the laptop, except for the screen.
  3. For the screen, use a soft lint-free cloth, or a flat-weave microfibre or lens cloth to wipe. If there’s grime on the screen, then slightly mist the cloth with clean water and use that to wipe.
  4. Take a disinfectant that’s safe to use on electronics, or make a homemade one by diluting a common household disinfectant (again, safe to use on electronics) with clean water (just a couple of drops for 100ml) and mist that over a clean microfibre cloth and wipe on all the surfaces of the electronics. Keep wiping at least twelve seconds on a surface and do not buff dry afterwards.

Do this every week.

During flu season, or the current COVID-19 pandemic, do the last step (disinfecting step) everyday after you shutdown your computer for the day (at least on the surfaces you touch, like keyboard, touchpad or mouse.)

Give one-minute window between shutting down your electronics and start cleaning it. It would be better if you can additionally disinfect them during the day when you’re using them for a prolonged time. Do the last step on your phone multiple times a day, everyday.

Also, wash your hands after touching your electronics, like phone, keyboard and remote controls.

During other times, when you don’t have to worry too much about contamination, once a day clean with a dry microfibre cloth is adequate for daily maintenance. Depending on how dirty your electronics get, you can perform all the cleaning steps once a week or once a month. Don’t put it off more than a month, though.

You can also use rubbing alcohol/ethanol to clean electronics, but test it first in an inconspicuous area because rubbing alcohol can strip any paint or protective coating off your electronics. Be extra careful when using it, and also work in a ventilated space. Ethanol is good for tough to remove dirt on electronics, like sticker marks.

Products I use:

☞ A soft bristle brush, about 2cm wide
☞ A common microfibre cloth (2 pieces)
☞ A flat-weave microfibre cloth (most used for my daily cleaning of the phone)
☞ A mist spray bottle
☞ Colin Glass Cleaner or Amazon Presto Glass & Household Cleaner
☞ A couple drops of Dettol diluted in clean water (or you can use the Dettol Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Spray. Don’t spray it directly on the electronics. Always spray it on the cloth and then use the cloth to wipe)
☞ Nail polish remover (contains ethanol/rubbing alcohol) I use it once in a while to make my electronics’ metal casings look spick and span

The Author

Web developer and writer. @rpsthecoder in Twitter.