It’s hard to deny that we live in an age of unprecedented technological wonders. We have devices that can fit in our pockets on which we can store entire music collections, lifetime’s worth of photo albums, and all of our important work documents- not to mention movies, art, games, and other types of entertainment. This fact is beyond amazing, and even though sometimes it can seem like all of our gadgets distract us from what is important in life, we should try not to take them for granted. Especially if you have your treasured family photos and videos, or important work and tax information stored on your devices, you should make it a point to take good care of them in order to prolong their lifetimes. Of course, it’s also important to always keep multiple backups of all your important files- a best practice is to keep one copy on your computer or tablet, one on an external storage device like a hard drive or jump drive, and one copy on the cloud. But this post will deal with tips for keeping your devices clean, to make sure they last you a long time.
Dust is the archnemesis of your electronics, and it is both pervasive and persistent- settling in the cracks and crevices of a device and eventually choking the fan or another crucial component. So you have to be vigilant in removing it.
Dust your devices well and often. A soft, dry cloth or rag is totally adequate for this purpose, but sometimes you may need to dampen the rag a little to help get dust out of the nooks and crannies. It may be a good idea to also invest in a good air purifier for the room you keep most of your computing equipment in.
Screens on TVs, computers, laptops and tablets can get really, really grubby over time- even with regular dusting. This is especially true if you have small children!
Some types of screens require specific cleaning solutions, so be sure to consult the instructions that came with the product before attempting to clean the screen beyond a dusting. A lot of screens can be cleaned quite effectively with isopropyl alcohol- the same stuff you keep in your medicine cabinet to clean cuts and scrapes. Pour a small amount on a cotton cloth and test it in a small area to be sure it causes no damage to the screen.
If your manufacturer’s instructions tell you to use a specific type of spray cleaner, be sure to avoid spraying the solution directly on the screen, as this could cause permanent streaks and spots on your screen. Instead, spray the solution on a cloth or paper towel and then use that to clean the screen in long, up-and-down or side-to-side strokes.
It can be really frustrating to attempt to clean a keyboard. Keyboards get a lot of abuse- from grimy fingertips, proximity to crumbs and beverages, and just regular old dirt and dust as well.
If you’ve got a sticking key, the best thing to do is remove the key (if possible) from the keyboard and wipe it down with rubbing alcohol, along with its connection point on the keyboard.
If your problem has to do with dust around and under the keys that won’t budge with ordinary dusting, you might want to try spraying the keyboard off with compressed air. It comes in a can, is environmentally friendly, and should be available wherever electronics are sold. The can comes with a little, thin straw to attach to the nozzle. When using the compressed air, make sure the straw is tightly secured and aim it right at the surface or nook you are trying to clean, leaving only about an inch or two of space between the tip of the straw and the cleaning target.
Of course, precautions should always be taken to keep your electronics out of the way of likely spill areas, like kitchen counters or dining tables. But, if the dreaded spill ever does happen, you might be able to save your device if you act quickly. Here’s what to do:
· Turn off and unplug the device.
· Wipe up as much of the spill as possible from the device and the surface it sits upon, not worrying yet about cleaning solutions.
· Once you’ve cleaned it up as much as you can, assess the situation. Did the liquid make it all the way inside the shell of the device? If not, you’re probably ok. Use a damp cloth to finish cleaning the substance off of the device, and use a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol to get any sticky residue out of the smaller crevices.
· If the inside of the device was affected by the spill, you might be able to take the device apart, carefully clean the components with rubbing alcohol, and let the parts dry out for 24 hours before reassembling. Your warranty may be voided if you do this yourself, so a better option might be to rush your device to a competent technician ASAP.