COVID-19 likely has you aware of how many times a day you touch your face, but how many times a day do you touch your phone and other devices? You may want to dunk everything in a vat of bleach, but before you go that route, grab some microfiber cloths, cotton swabs, distilled water, isopropyl alcohol, and dish soap, and read our guide to getting your gadgets gleaming—after you unplug or turn off, of course. We’ll show you how to disinfect your devices and give everything else a general cleaning.
HOW TO CLEAN A PHONE OR TABLET
Phones and tablets have an oleophobic (fingerprint-resistant) coating that could come off, so manufacturers generally recommend wiping them down with distilled water and a barely textured microfiber cloth and then using cotton swabs to clean around crevices, like the edges of the screen and buttons.
But a global pandemic is not the time to stick to the usual manufacturer warnings. In March, Apple revised its “How to Clean Your Apple Products” guidelines to endorse using “70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.” According to Cupertino: “You may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces. Don’t use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don’t submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents. Don’t use on fabric or leather surfaces.”
If you can’t find Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, get some 99% isopropyl alcohol, distilled water, a spray bottle, and a disposable microfiber cloth. Mix a solution that is 70% alcohol and 30% water, and put it in the spray bottle. Then remove the case from your phone or tablet, spritz the cloth with the solution, and thoroughly wipe down your phone. Do not reuse the cloth.
Also go over the case with the solution, and a cloth and let it dry completely before you put it back on. Then be sure to wash your hands, or all your cleaning will have been for nothing. If you’re just concerned about grime (and not germs), you can use wipes such as Care Touch Lens Cleaning Wipes.
HOW TO CLEAN HEADPHONES AND EARPHONES
Your headphones and earphones are some of the closest things to you. Alas, they’re coated in sweat and wax (gross, but facts).
The general recommendation for over-the-ear headphones is to go over them with a microfiber cloth dampened with a little water. AirPods and other all-in-one units without eartips should be cleaned only with a microfiber cloth. To remove wax and dust from headphones and earbuds, you can take some adhesive putty, roll a tiny bit into a ball, and quickly and lightly press and remove gunk from any grille parts.
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