If you’re going to spend time cleaning, you might as well do it right. And when it comes to cleaning electronic devices (especially expensive ones), there’s extra pressure to make sure your de-germing efforts don’t do any harm. Not cleaning devices and screens properly can cause major damage — but that’s no excuse to leave them off your weekly cleaning list. While phone or iPad screens may not be the first thing you might think of to clean, these high-touch, daily-use items are a hotbed for germs.
“It’s important to clean screens to remove germs and to remove fingerprints and skin oils,” says Becky Rapinchuk, founder of Clean Mama. Generally speaking, cleaning an electronic screen is pretty simple: “I pour a little rubbing alcohol (70 percent) on a soft, clean microfiber cleaning cloth and wipe the screen,” Rapinchuk says.
For a closer, more in-depth look at how to best clean specific screens, read on.
How to Clean a TV Screen
The TV should be part of your weekly dusting routine, says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid. “A quick swipe with a duster or microfiber cloth will ensure no dust builds up in vents, speakers, or other crevices. Unless something comes into direct contact with your TV over the course of the week (like sticky hands or a food spill, for example) this should be the extent of your regular TV maintenance.”
The screen of the TV should be handled gently. “Unless a cleaning solution is labeled for use on a television screen, it’s best to use a dry duster or microfiber cloth to remove dust,” Peterson tells POPSUGAR. “Plastic areas of your television, such as the legs, can be cleaned like any other plastic surface. Keep in mind, however, that your television is an electronic, so it should never be oversaturated with any product. Always spray into your cloth — never directly on the device.”
Microfiber towels are great for all surfaces, but they’re especially good for those prone to excessive dust, like TVs. And an extra tip: don’t forget about the remote control. “Since the remote is shared by all family members and is a high-touch area of the home, you want to make sure it’s part of a regular cleaning routine,” Peterson says. “It’s best to wipe down with disinfecting wipes and especially timely during cold and flu season.”
How to Clean a Computer Screen
Cleaning a computer is similar to cleaning a TV: use a microfiber or cotton cloth to dust your computer monitor. “Remember to stay away from liquid cleaners when dusting your monitor, since you don’t want to damage your monitor or create permanent streaks on your screen,” Peterson says.
The number one rule when cleaning computers, TVs, or anything electrical is to always apply liquid cleaner to the microfiber towel — never spray directly onto the device.
How to Clean an iPad Screen
Apple has tips for cleaning its products. Remember to always unplug your iPad before cleaning your device, and if you’re using a liquid cleaner, it’s important to power the device down as well.
Apple advises against aerosol sprays, bleaches, and abrasives. And, like Peterson recommends, it’s important to only use a soft, lint-free cloth and to not spray cleaners directly onto the item.
How to Clean a Phone Screen
Whether you’re texting friends or playing Zombie games, your phone gets a lot of use — meaning it’s essential to clean it. To do this, unplug your phone, power it down completely, then remove the case. Peterson recommends using a soft, slightly damp cloth to wipe down the device. “Try to avoid getting water in the speaker area,” she says. “If you have isopropyl alcohol in the house for first aid, add a touch for disinfecting. It also dissolves dirt and oil and dries instantly.”
One word of caution from Peterson: never use window cleaner. Also, avoid using paper towels, since they can easily scratch the screen. Peterson suggests carrying around a microfiber cloth to wipe your phone with, if you want to get into the habit of cleaning it regularly.