We recently came across the list of the top most dirty objects in an average household, and surprisingly, it’s not the toilet seat. Some of the items that were ranked at the top of that list have definitely made us think twice before making a call or looking up updates on Facebook. The keyboard on which you typed to get to this page, or the touchscreen that you swipe on are some of the most bacteria-rich items in your household, so keeping these squeaky clean should be a top priority.
While there are lots of methods and products for cleaning these items, most of us ignore this. How similar do you find this scenario: Your smartphone’s screen is really dirty, so you rub it on your shirt, or a piece of cloth that’s close by, or you remember that it’s been some time since you’ve cleaned your keyboard, so you turn it upside down and give it a few slaps. Most of us use this (or a very similar) technique and think “Now it’s clean!”, but the truth of the matter is that it’s just as dirty as before.
Why is it important to clean your keyboard, smartphone and tablet correctly?
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When it comes to tablets and smartphones, there are more things to consider. First off, keep in mind that you can easily damage them if you don’t use caution when cleaning them. What products to use? Will they affect the device in any way? Will they kill the millions of bacteria that use the touchscreen as their home? These are all valid questions that you need to ask yourself.
Returning to the keyboard, this is the home to dozens of types of harmful bacteria, and all the stuff that falls between the keys just makes it an even better home for them. I can attest to the fact that if you don’t clean your keyboard on a regular basis, all those crumbs and other particles add up and it can affect the performance of the device.
Cleaning your Smartphone or Tablet
Because using certain alcohol-based solutions can potentially damage the coating of your screen, it is very important that you proceed with caution when trying to remove the build-up of dust and grease from your smartphone or tablet. The best way to do so is to use a simple microfibre cloth. These are widely available from any major retailer or other shops that sell glasses. Remember never to use paper towels or other abrasive cloths.
The microfibre cloth is smooth enough to pick up the most minute of dust particles, and if need be, it can be dipped in water to maximize its effect (but never pour water directly on your device). When cleaning your smartphone or tablet, use circular motions (be careful not to press to hard against the screen!), as opposed to linear one, as bigger dust particles can get stuck onto it and create scratches on the screen. Removing dust from ports or speaker grills can be done with a soft paint brush, and as general rule, you should avoid using compressed air, as it could damage the electronics.
In terms of killing bacteria and viruses that like to live on your smartphone or tablet, there are lots of solutions out there which could help. Products like Whoosh! Screen Shine or Monoprice are both cheap and can clean pretty much any display you have, but the truth is that any solution that does not contain alcohol or ammonia will work just fine. If you are really concerned with germs, then you can go one step further and get a UV cleaner or a professional sanitizer, which doesn’t use any cleaning products at all.
Cleaning your keyboard
If you’re like me, then you spend most of your time in front of a computer. That is where you eat, work and occasionally sleep, so it only stands to reason that the keyboard is full of dust, crumbs and other stuff like hair strands. If this is the case, a more suitable location for the keyboard should be in a bio-hazard room. Weather it is a laptop keyboard, or computer keyboard, you should definitely clean it on a regular basis to ensure proper hygiene and working conditions.
Cleaning a computer keyboard isn’t that hard, albeit time consuming at any rate. As mentioned earlier, one method is to turn it upside-down and give it a few taps, so that particles which are between the keys can fall out. But this method only takes care of a few problems. The best solution I found is to take the ting apart and clean each individual key.
For this, you will need to unplug your keyboard, then with a Flathead screwdriver, pop the keys out. A good way to remember where each key was, is to take a picture of it with a digital camera or with your smartphone. Once you’ve taken it apart, put all the keys in bowl of water and add liquid soap or some other cleaning product. Use caution, as some cleaning liquids may damage your keys, so be sure to test it out on a small area before, or read the label to see how well it fairs with plastic. Give the keys a good bath and let them dry until all moisture is gone.
To clean the rest of the keyboard, you can use a small paint brush or a small hand-held vacuum cleaner. Additionally, soak some cotton balls or a piece of cloth in cleaning liquid or sanitizer and give it a rub-down (be sure not to pour liquids on your keyboard, as these could damage it! Only dampen a cloth or cotton ball). After you’ve finished, put everything back together and you are all done.
When it comes to laptop keyboards, the process is somewhat similar, however, in most devices, taking out the keys one by one is not an option, and you might need to take out the entire keyboard. If you are not comfortable with dissembling your laptop, then just turn it off, remove the battery and turn it upside-down. Then gently tap the back so the majority of particles fall out. After you’ve finished, rub it down with a microfibre cloth, as it will pick up dust particles and then use a sanitizing solution to finish cleaning it.
Note: You can also use a can of compressed air to clean your keyboard properly.