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Dos and Don’ts when Cleaning Tech Gadgets

This is the time of year when the latest generation of technology swamps our homes. This may be because you belong to the 85% of people that go to the post-holiday sales, whether it’s xmas presents, or just because you’re hoarder… But in this madness of new-fangled objects, what should you observe when it comes to hygiene? Don’t forget that, for many of us, we’ll use most of these items on a daily basis, so imagine the amount of people that come in contact with your tech items, either physically or by proxy…

This is why it’s important now more than ever to learn a bit from the experts, at Helpling, who provide the DOs and DON’Ts on how to keep hygienic, with your new high-tech toy.

1. Earphones


– Why are they dirty?

Wearing earphones or headphones can be a big contributor of acne breakouts and skin infections. This happens as the sweat and moisture collected around the earphones compresses your skin and encourages bacteria to multiply, according to a dermatologist at the skin care advisory board, simple. Using earphones for one hour can increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times. So try not overuse your headphones and keep them sterile to avoid an excess buildup or bacteria, sweat, wax and dust.

– Do:

  • Use a cloth, dipped in soapy water to wipe the earphones. Make-up removal wipes also work wonders.
  • If there are silicone detachables or if you need to deep cleanse the metal parts, you can also a dry brush – but take care in the process; you may damage them!

– Don’t:

  • Don’t share earbuds! According to a study, harmful bacteria can transfer quite easily from one’s ear to another.

-How often should I clean my earphones?

Over-the-ear headphones should be wiped daily and also your skin must be cleaned to avoid transferring the bacteria. For a more complete clean for simple headphones, once a month works fine, depending on how often you use it. If you have leather mufflers, a weekly wipe is advisable.

2. Smartphones and Tablets

cleaning phone

– Why are they dirty?

Studies found that smartphones can be covered in up to ten times more bacteria than a toilet seat – bacteria including staphylococcus. A survey in the UK points out that 75% of people use their mobile in the bathroom and an analysis of headset devices found out that almost one quarter had ten times more bacteria than the accepted TVC for bacteria to meet proper hygiene. According to the same analysis, the worst handphone had 170 times more faecal coliforms than the level considered safe. So keep your phone in your pocket, next time you go to the bathroom.

– Do:

  • Use a microfiber cloth to clean the screen regularly.
  • For a deeper clean, disinfect and remove excess dirt by using a mixture of water and alcohol or water and vinegar – just a little bit!
  • When you do a cavity clean of the phone, make sure you turn it off, and remove the battery and sim card. Use a cotton bud to get to those hard to reach places.
  • If you have silicone covers, take them off and soak in warm, soapy water, this should help to remove any discolouration.
  • When you’re done with cleaning, leave the phone to dry completely before turning it on again.

– Don’t:

  • Don’t spray cleaning solutions directly on the screen, soak it in cloth first and then clean – Beware, droplets may get into places like speakers and microphones and damage the equipment.
  • Don’t use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process, your electronic devices have a lot of sensitive components that could be easily damaged by the hot air.

-How often should I clean my phone?

Wipe the screens every other day. For deep cleaning, set regular periods (every one or two weeks) depending on how much you use it.

3. Laptops/Notebooks

– Why are they dirty?

Your notebook keyboard holds 5 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, including the harmful E.Coli and staphylococcus. Studies have found more than 3,000 organisms per square inch on keyboards which can lead to diseases and food poisoning as the organisms can be transferred when you touch your mouth or eyes.

cleaning keyboard

– Do:

To clean the screen, mouse and other flat surfaces, the same process described above works fine. For the keyboards:

  • Make sure the notebook is off/keyboard is unplugged.
  • Clean the keyboard using a big soft brush (makeup brushes work well) to dust it or you can spray compressed air to remove the dirt between the keys, this also works to clean the inside of your mouse
  • A cloth soaked in alcohol can be used to remove stains, but don’t apply too liberally! You don’t want to flood your keyboard
  • Only turn your computer back on when it’s completely dry

– Don’t:

  • Don’t try to vacuum your keyboard or notebook pad with a normal vacuum cleaner, it can potentially damage the components.
  • If your device is overheating probably due to the dust in the fan, carefully blowing out some of the dust with a can of compressed air should help
  • If you can’t clean it yourself, and it still keeps overheating, you may need to contact the manufacturer for the service.

Also, dust contains allergens, sure, but it is your hands that is responsible for the transfer of the bacteria!

-How often should I clean my notebook/laptop?

Once a month, or more, depending on how often you have lunch on it!

4. Smart Watches

– Why are they dirty?

In the same respect as a smartphone or tablet, the screens of smart watches have a lot of interaction with your fingers, picking up grease, skin and general grime. In addition, the strap on the watch collects a lot of sweat and dead skin, and that’s not to mention all the nooks and crannies that dirt can build up in, on the sides and underneath!

– Do:

  • Know your smartwatch! You need to know the watches durability level before you start cleaning it, as it’s much easier to clean a waterproof one than a non-waterproof one!
  • Diluted soap in tepid water or a 1:20 vinegar and water solution should clean up most areas of your smartphone
  • Use a cotton bud to access hard to reach areas
  • Clean the straps vigorously, as they collect a lot of dirt and mildew on them
  • Switch the watch off, before cleaning, and allow to dry thoroughly before turning it back on

– Don’t

  • Soak your smartwatch if it isn’t waterproof – you will ruin it!
  • Soak leather strapped watches – Instead wipe them down with a cloth dipped in the aforementioned solutions
  • Clean the inside of the smartwatch with moisture: if it is dusty, use a dry cotton bud
  • Put your watch back on on when it is dry!

– How often should I clean?

You should wipe the screen daily to remove any germs or finger print marks. Clean the wristband once per week and give it a deeper clean once every half year or so.

5. Cameras

-Why are they dirty?

Nothing is more annoying than shooting, what you believe to be, great photos, just to realise that the lense was dirty when you took them. And that’s not the only reason to regularly clean your camera: we continuously touch it and also pass it on to other people to show them photos – making it an easy transit station for bacteria.

Dos and Don’ts:

  • To clean the camera body, use a damp cloth. Important: Hands off detergents!
  • For the interior: open the battery and memory card holder and use a soft brush to get rid of dust and grains of sand.
  • For the lens, it is best to use a cloth designed for optics, which you can get at an optician or in a photography retail shop – the lens needs to remain clear!
  • If your lens is detachable, it is best to clean it with a hand pump, which you purchase in pharmacies. Use it to blow away dust from the interior and the mirror of the camera and the lens itself.
  • Stubborn dirt, especially on the sensor, is a tricky thing. Our advice is to bring the camera to an expert for cleaning to avoid damaging the sensitive parts of your camera.

How often should I clean?

Depending on how often you use it, but it is advisable to clean after every major use to avoid finding grains of sand from last vacation on your newly shot photos.

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