Sanitizing electronics

During the national health crisis, you probably have been sanitizing everything in sight and the same goes for my family. Even prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, I was frequently asked, “What is the proper way to clean electronic equipment?” This is a pretty broad question, but let’s look at some common devices and how you might go about cleaning them.

The solution

There are many products on the market for cleaning electronics. There is no need to rush out and buy something; chances are you already have what you need. One of the easiest cleaning solutions to make at home is a simple water and vinegar solution. Simply mix 50/50 and use distilled water to prevent spots. This solution is completely safe for most devices. Another cleaning solution I use is a 50/50 mixture of water (preferably distilled) and 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.

Cell phones

You’re probably aware that a multitude of bacteria is clinging to your phone. Fortunately, our phones are personal and we don’t usually share them with other people. Most of the bacteria found on your phone is the same as that on your hands. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean and disinfect it. Simply remove your phone case, apply your cleaning solution to a clean microfiber cloth and wipe everything down. It’s important to always spray the solution on the cloth and not directly on the device. Apple and many manufacturers recommend against using any type of alcohol or ammonia-based product – doing so can damage the screen.


TVs, tablets, laptops and cell phones … so many of our electronics have screens, and many are touch screens that collect grime from everyone that touches them. Many screens today, and screen protectors, have a protective coating to help with glare and fingerprints. This coating can be sensitive to certain cleaning chemicals which should be avoided. A lightly dampened cloth with water may be the safest option. Be careful with the amount of pressure used to clean the screen. A light touch is all that is needed in most cases. Pressing too hard can damage or crack the screen and using anything other than a microfiber cloth can scratch it.

Keyboards, mice, game controllers

These are all devices that need cleaning from time to time. For keyboards, be sure to turn them upside down and gently tap to remove any debris that has fallen between the keys. I personally like to use the alcohol and water solution for these devices. Water and electricity do not mix well, so always be sure to disconnect and turn off the device before cleaning. Again, it is important to apply the cleaning solution to a soft microfiber cloth before wiping down the device.

If you need to get into small cracks and crevasses, you can always use a cotton swab lightly dampened with your solution of choice. If in doubt, it’s a good idea to refer to the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations. This is just one more step we can take to prevent the spread of viruses like COVID-19.