How To Safely Disinfect And Clean Your Gadgets

Flu season seems to go all year 'round these days, and your gadgets are among the most germ-ridden objects in your house. Here's how to safely disinfect them.

Photo by benjgibbs.

First, if you're the only one using your gadgets, you're probably pretty safe from the spread of germs. But as soon as you start handing off your iPhone, iPad, laptop, video game controllers, cameras and other tech to your ogling friends, germs (and illness) can start spreading quickly.

Use alcohol or disinfectant (sparingly!)...

Most of your oft-touched tech, like your keyboard, mouse, laptop and headphones, can usually be cleaned safely with simple alcohol or disinfecting spray. You probably don't want to go with pre-soaked wipes here — instead, get a bottle of ethyl or isopropyl alcohol and put it on a soft cloth before wiping down your gear. The less moisture you expose your gear to, the better.

...but not necessarily on touchscreens...

The trickier matter is cleaning touchscreen devices like your tablet or smartphone. Apple doesn't recommend using anything with alcohol, ammonia and other popular cleaners in it, though some quick Googling reveals substantial anecdotal evidence that it won't noticeably harm your screen in small doses. However, if you don't feel comfortable taking that route, you have other choices.

...unless you've got a screen protector...

Your first option is to get a screen protector, like the popular Power Support anti-glare film or, my personal favourite, the ZAGG InvisibleSHIELD, and use the above alcohol/disinfectant method. Screen protectors cover up the supposedly delicate oleophobic screen coating on many devices, freeing you up to use pretty much any cleaning products you want. Again, just be very careful about getting your phone too wet — even if you don't damage anything, you could trip your gadget's moisture sensor and void your warranty.

...or use a gentler alternative...

If you're anti-screen protector, a few products on the market can disinfect your gadgets without eating away at the screen, like the Apple-recommended iKlenz spray or Monster CleanTouch. You'll have to shell out a bit more for them (compared to a bottle of alcohol), but it's probably the best way to go if you're particularly paranoid about adverse effects on your phone's screen.

...but don't forget to use a little common sense.

Lastly, and most importantly, is a little common sense: The best way to avoid illness is to wash your hands regularly, especially when you go around touching other people's stuff. It won't stop them from spreading germs to your iPad, necessarily, but the more we keep our germs to ourselves, the less we spread them to others.


Comments

    For my iPad, a dedicated super-fine cloth of the type used for spectacles is quick and easy. Or for a greasy screen use bath soap & warm water applied with a squeezed cotton-ball. All chemical compounds degrade the oleophobic coating over time.

    Don't forget the soon to be released Brasso Gadget Care. www.brasso.co.uk

    I use a UV-C wand which cost $30 from Crazy Sales.

    I treat my ipad, iphone, keyboards and my bedding.

    I use a lens cloth from Ted's Camera Store. I think it's microfibre. This is occasionally washed in detergent, then treated with UV.

    Apparenty UV-C is devastating on micro organisms.

    You'll also need to wear eye protection and avoid skin exposure.

    RE: Geoff - I have used Gadgetcare, works well on my ipad. Have you seen their 'so bad it's almost good' videos on youtube? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u57IgPdSo5k

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