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Cleaning Electronics
Published on Sunday, 14 April 2013

Cleaning Electronics

This article might have come under the heading of cleaning the study or office but it actually tackles the more specific and very specific issue of cleaning electronics.  A general note for cleaning electronics, always have them turned off for cleaning.

Spillage: Simple rules like, electricity and water don’t mix are common knowledge but in the heat of the moment then it can slip your mind.  If you spill something on your laptop or drop your phone in something then the thing to do is not to douse the device in water.  Any liquid is a fairly tricky situation actually.  If it’s a spillage that you can wipe away without letting anything get into the actual mechanism then that is your first port of call.  Even wet wipes are okay for more stubborn dirt, so long as they aren’t really wet wipes and they don’t get moisture into the mechanics either.  Sometimes gravity can be magical too.  Leaving your laptop upside down, unfolded over a clothes line or similar – so long as it’s strong enough to hold it – is a good idea and should hopefully encourage the exit of your spillage.  Doing this in a warm environment might also be worth considering as it might be a lot easier for your spillage to get out of your device as vapour.

Drowning: More of a phone or small electrical device problem than a laptop problem, but I know of more iphones that have fallen in the toilet than I could count.  There is a solution and it doesn’t always work but it’s absolutely worth considering.  If possible and safe to do so, dismantle the device and put the simple parts like the phone back and probably the sim card to dry somewhere like a radiator or airing cupboard where they can dry out without melting out of shape.  The main body of the device needs to be completely submerged in uncooked rice and left for up to a week so that the rice can draw the moisture out of your device and you can be sure that, after a week, all the moisture that can be drawn out will have been.

Crumbs: More of a computer specific problem but a really epic one.  The obvious answer is prevention, don’t eat over your computer but as computers are becoming TVs and mini cinemas it might be foolish expecting no food to ever slip between the keys.  The problem comes when the crumbs get so big or so crowded that they start preventing you from pressing the keys or making keys stick.  Getting them out is tricky.  A lot of keyboards, especially desktops, have keys that snap out of and back into the keyboard so the best solution is to use a blunt knife to lever them out, clean the space around them by using cotton wool buds or just tipping the keyboard upside down and hitting the bottom to loosen crumbs.  With laptops, don’t take the keys out unless you can be sure that they’ll go back in.  It’s usually safer to use dental floss or sellotape and slide it between the keys to get crumbs to stick and pull them out.  The old trick of turning it upside down and hitting it can be successful here too.

Screen: To protect the screen and not disturb all the static, there are specialist screen that it might be worth purchasing to clean the screen or just use a dry cloth.  Definitely not water and definitely not polish.


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