When you clean your house, you probably give your electronics some attention as well. After all, nobody wants to watch TV through a streaky screen or use a computer keyboard that’s covered in grime. But don’t just use the same tools you’d use on your windows or your floor — those electronics can be finicky and need to be handled with care.
First, don’t use glass cleaner or any other common household cleaning solution. The screens aren’t glass and shouldn’t be treated like it, and some of the harsher solutions can even make your screen turn brittle and yellow over time. Instead, take a soft cloth — not paper towels, because they’re abrasive and can leave tiny scratches — and gently wipe away any dust or fingerprints. If that doesn’t do the trick, get a bottle of cleaning solution that’s specifically designed for screens. Always spray it on the cloth, never directly on the screen. Wipe gently, since pressing too hard can damage your screen.
If you still have a cathode-ray tube TV — the kind with a curved glass screen and a bulky case behind it — you’re not alone. As of just a few years ago, 41% of U.S. households still had at least one CRT television. And it turns out there’s one advantage to the older technology: the screens are a lot less finicky. You can spray a little bit of glass cleaner on a paper towel, wipe it down, and you’re good to go. Still don’t spray anything directly on your screen, though.
Cleaning dust, crumbs and other minor debris out of your keyboard is pretty easy: just buy a can of compressed air, tip your keyboard up on one end, and spray the air along every crack where something has fallen. If your keyboard is dirty or sticky, it’ll take a little more time, but with a little effort you can still make it feel like new. Take a soft-bristled toothbrush, wet it with a small amount of rubbing alcohol — not too much, because you don’t want to get liquid inside the keyboard — and gently brush until the dirt and grime rubs away.
Dust and other debris can build up inside your computer, particularly around your main cooling fan intake. This can damage your computer in the long run by making it run hotter and making your fan work harder than it should. If you have a laptop or an Apple computer, it’s hard to clean the inside yourself, but for the majority of desktop PCs, it’s pretty easy.
You might be tempted to just spray condensed air into your fan, but don’t. That will just drive the dust deeper into your computer, and it can also damage your fan by making the blades spin faster than they’re supposed to. Instead, after turning off and unplugging the computer, take a screwdriver and open up the case. Once your case is open, you can use compressed air to gently herd those dust bunnies out of the computer. If you spray it on your fan, it’s best to use a pen or pencil to gently hold the blades in place so they