Care tips for electronic gadgets

26 Feb 2013

As we move ever further into the electronic age, many of us can't be parted from our iPads, tabs, iPods and cellphones, so keeping them clean and protected from harm makes sense.

Put your iPod or MP3 player in a protective case and place a plastic skin over the screen to prevent scratches.

Here's a quick guide on cleaning and caring for your electronic gadgets and hi-tech home appliances.

Smart phone, pad or tab

Carry it in a separate case, preferably hard body, as debris can clog buttons and keys. House keys can scratch the surface or dislodge keyboard keys and sitting on it can break the device. Clean it with lint-free electronic wipes or cloths used to clean eye wear. Wipe around the speaker, mic and buttons with an ear bud slightly dampened with rubbing alcohol.

Never leave it out in direct sunlight or extreme cold.

iPod or mp3 player

Protect it in a slip or holder, unless you carry it without coins or keys in your pocket. Consider a protective skin if you have a larger screen model like an iPod Classic or iPod Touch. Clean it with lint-free electronic wipes or cloths used for cleaning eyewear. Use an ear bud with a bit of rubbing alcohol (so it’s damp, not wet) around click-wheels or buttons.

Charge it out of its case, to ensure air circulation and to avoid overheating and never leave it out in direct sunlight or extreme cold.

Home stereo system

Use a pair of tweezers to pull dust bunnies out from between the keys and lightly brush the keyboard with a soft-bristled brush and vacuum away loose dirt.

Clean the speakers using a dry, anti-static cloth and a small vacuum or dust-buster can be used to clean mesh covers. Clean the CD player with a laser lens cleaning product and/or compressed air. Use a stylus cleaner if you’ve got a turntable.

Always arrange the speakers at the required distance apart to avoid interference and fit a surge protector plug to protect against power surges.

Flat-screen TV

Turn off the unit before cleaning and avoid getting moisture into the unit by spraying cleaner onto a lint-free cloth, not the actual TV. Use a dust-buster vacuum cleaner to clean air vents. Clean it with an ammonia-free agent and soft cloth. Paper towels and conventional electronic wipes can be too rough and damage the screen’s optic film, so opt for a dedicated LCD or plasma-screen cleaner.

Always allow plenty of ventilation around the TV. If you wall-mount it or recess it, make sure it still has air circulation. If not, install a PC-cooling fan.


Carry your iPad or tablet in a separate, preferably a hardcover and clean the screen using lint-free electronic wipes or the cloths used to clean glasses.

Equip yourself with a can of compressed air, a soft-bristled brush or a make-up brush, a pair of tweezers, lint-free cloth and a small dust-buster vacuum cleaner. Switch off the laptop and use the tweezers to gently lift out any visible dust bunnies on the keyboard. It is more hygienic than using your fingers.

Then lightly brush the keyboard with a soft-bristled brush and vacuum away loose dirt. Dampen a soft cloth with rubbing alcohol to wipe the keyboard clean and then wipe it dry.

PC or desktop computer

Your PC keyboard collects a lot of dirt as you work. When this builds up it leads to keys that stick or stop working all together.

Switch it off and unplug and then leave it for 30 minutes to cool down. Tip the keyboard upside down and tap lightly to release any dirt that has fallen between the keys. Then use an ear bud lightly dampened with rubbing alcohol to clean between the keys and wipe the surface with a cloth. If you know how to remove the keys, then go ahead but remember the order in which they go back on the board.

You can clean the inside of your PC or desktop computer by removing a side panel. However, before you do this check that the machine is not still under warranty, as any cleaning may void this.

Use a screwdriver to remove the panel and put the screws aside in a safe place. A can of compressed air is best for cleaning boards and components. Use short bursts of air to clean components but be careful when cleaning fans. Place an ear bud in one of the fins to stop the fan turning as you spray with compressed air. A fan that spins in the wrong direction can be damaged.

Let any dust settle on the base of the PC and then use a thin nozzle attachment on your vacuum cleaner to suck up. After replacing the side casing, wipe down the exterior of the case with a cloth and mild cleaner, taking care not to go near any ports or vents with liquid.

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