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After you’re all done with cleaning out your tower you should polish up your peripherals too. These can be especially gross since you end up touching them all the time. Plus there are so many tiny spaces for dust, Cheetos cheese, and other gunk to get into.
Cleaning the Keyboard
First we’ll start with wiping the keyboard down with a damp cloth. Since regular old plastic is a less sensitive than microchips we can use anything from a micro fiber cloth, to a rag, and even a (clean) old sock. After you’ve wiped all the greased and dust off the top, flip the keyboard over and give it a good shake to get rid of any loose bits of material in between the keys. Follow up with a blast of air to clear out hair, dust, and food particles.
Removing the keys
This should take care of at least 80-percent of the problems but for a truly deep clean, you can also pop off the keys to get to the keyboard's backboard. Most mechanical keyboards come with a key puller. If you lost it or are using a membrane switch keyboard, gently wedging a flathead screwdriver or letter opener underneath the keys works in a pinch. Just remember to take a picture of the keyboard beforehand for reference when putting it back together.
Cleaning the Mouse
Cleaning your mouse is largely the same as a keyboard in that the whole thing needs a good wipe down. Pay particular attention to the non-stick pads on the bottom as a lot of gunk can accumulate on and around the edge of the mouse’s feet.
Cleaning the sensor
If there’s anything caught in the scroll wheel, simply turn the whole clicker over and turn the wheel or hit it with a blast of air to dislodge anything caught inside. Finally for the optical sensor, we suggest wiping the area with a damp cloth and a Q-tip to finely remove any leftover crud.
Cleaning monitors, and screens in general, are extremely sensitive and require some of the gentlest cleaning methods. Windex is completely NOT okay to use. Ammonia- or alcohol-based cleaners should also be avoided because they can strip the anti-reflective coating applied to screens, cause clouding, and otherwise damage the display.
While it may seem like there are but a few solutions worth wiping your screen with, it’s actually easier to just make your own cleaning solution. All it requires is equal parts white vinegar and distilled water.
But before we start damping anything, we’re going to wipe down the surface to get rid of any dust or grit that might scratch the screen later on. Another ground rule is to never pour or spray liquid directly onto the screen because drops can seep into the panel through gaps around the bezel. Instead drip a little bit of the solution into the cloth and then wipe the display in a circular motion to prevent streaks.
Moving onto potentially the grossest part of our gadget cleanup, headsets. Mmmm sweat and earwax. One good general rule about cleaning headsets is liquid cleansers are a big no-no. Instead, for leather, pleather, and vinyl cups, use a simple microfiber cloth.
Alternatively, for headset with cloth and foam ear cups scotch tape works wonders on pulling off dust and lint without tearing fabric.
Tablets, and especially smartphones, can be a complete biohazard nightmare of bacteria and germs. All the loose food and dust that accumulates on your keyboard pales in comparison to the smartphone you touch with your hands all day. Given that this device also touches your face, it’s probably the most important thing you’ll want to sanitize.
While we wish we could use bleach or use acid to scour phones clean, touchscreens are the finickiest thing to clean because of their sensitive oleophobic (oil phobic) coating. These coatings can be easily damaged by alcohol and ammonia solutions. Instead just like your monitor, it’s best to clean it with distilled water and white vinegar. Although technically vinegar is still an acid that will degrade the oil repelling coating on smartphones, it’s much weaker than alcohol.
For a truly sanitizing clean, you can buy a cleanser like iKlear, which is actually recommended by Apple. Alternatively, for a completely liquid-free solution there are UV sterilizers specifically designed for smartphones—think of them as an UV-powered Easy Bake ovens for technology—that run around $40.