House & Home

Keeping Your PC, Smartphone or Tablet Clean

Posted August 19, 2014 6:35 a.m. EDT

PCs, Smartphones, and handheld tablets are essentials of daily life. However, these conveniences need some basic maintenance to stay in top working order. Obviously you can't just scrub them with good old soap and water. So what do you do instead? Learn how to clean your electronic devices in the following easy, natural ways.


Hopefully you are reading this because you just purchased a new electronic device and want cleaning info on hand for future reference. If so, there are plenty of preventive steps you can take to protect your device against dirt, streaks, dust, and even scratches. Seal your display screen – this does not interfere with visibility. A Smartphone or tablet can be carried in a protective case. Do as I say, not as I do and avoid eating near electronics; however, if by accident food does spill, wipe it up immediately. Last but not least, read the instruction leaflet that came with your product (download it if necessary) to find out the manufacturer's recommendations for care.


Dust is the biggest bugaboo for delicate electronic systems. Clean dust off your phone, computer, or tablet regularly to avoid build-up. The good news is that you don't need a lot of complicated, expensive, or environmentally harmful equipment for this maintenance task. Washable, reusable microfiber cloths or gloves are ideal for dusting electronics. In addition, you may want to use a long-handled, soft, non-shed brush to get into small spaces. Tweezers can be used to carefully pick up small clumps of dust or other debris. Compressed air spray is sometimes recommended to blow particles out of keyboards or other crevices, but as an alternative, you can buy a photographer's air spray that is cheaper and more eco-friendly.


There are a number of problems that may result from an overload of grime. If you experience any of these, try cleaning your electronic equipment before calling on a repair technician and you may end up saving yourself a bundle. A dirty headset jack might be the cause of problems connecting an iPhone. Poor sound or image quality may be due to a grungy screen or speakers. If your desktop computer shuts down spontaneously or is exceptionally noisy, it could very well be that the fans (there will be at least two of them) are clogged with dust, causing them to overheat. Take care of this latter problem promptly, since left unattended, it can cause your PC to RIP … or even start a house fire, warn Philadelphia electricians.


Shut down and unplug your device prior to performing any maintenance to avoid damage to it and, more importantly, to yourself. Let it cool down completely before you get to work.

Vinegar is the darling among green homemakers these days, but this fantastic natural cleanser is not quite all purpose – in the case of electronic devices, it is just too harsh and will abrade. The same goes for lemon juice. Paper towels and tissues are a no-no as well; they are overly rough and can scratch. Simply use the microfiber cloth that came with your iPhone or other device. When that wears out, shell out a small sum for a new one.

Don't treat your electronic display screen like glass. It isn't. This means you must never ever spray it with window cleaner – in fact, it's best to avoid getting liquid on it, or in your device's entry points and ventilation openings. Start by wiping with a dry cloth. If spots or streaks remain, dampen your cloth very lightly with pure distilled water or rubbing alcohol and then rub the screen gently.

Laura Firszt writes for

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