Laptops, desktops, mice, keyboards, and computer equipment are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning duties, but they can harbor viruses and bacteria on their surfaces – especially when it comes to touchscreens and keyboards. Below is some helpful advice for sanitizing your equipment to protect your health.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has offered up several helpful tips for cleaning and disinfecting facilities during the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020. First, the CDC recommends cleaning surfaces with soap and water, especially frequently-touched surfaces like doorknobs, desks, faucets, keyboards, and others. Then, surfaces should be disinfected with an EPA-registered disinfectant or a diluted bleach solution.
It can be difficult to clean and sanitize electronics with soap and water or with household disinfectants, but the CDC offers a few other guidelines specific to computers, keyboards, and other equipment. First and foremost, they recommend using a wipeable cover over keyboards and other electronics that you touch frequently. You can find keyboard covers for most laptops and major keyboards online. They also suggest looking up the manufacturer’s instructions for disinfecting computers and laptops.
Before attempting to clean any computer or equipment, be sure that is unplugged and completely powered down. Never spray anything directly onto the computer or equipment, even when it is advised that you utilize a spray. Always spray onto a clean, soft cloth and remember that microfiber works best – especially for monitors, which are prone to smearing and scratching.
For the most part, the guidelines for cleaning computers is the same regardless of the brand or model, but a few of the major manufacturers have created webpages for this purpose.
For the most part, cleaning your other computer equipment is as simple as wiping it down with a cloth dipped into a disinfecting solution or a disinfecting wipe. Things like the outer case on your computer (laptop or desktop), your servers, the legs/stand on your monitor, your mouse, and your desk area can all harbor viruses and bacteria and should be cleaned frequently.
Your smartphone and tablet will also require frequent cleaning and disinfecting. Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions to discover which sprays are best for use with your particular device. Make sure you turn your phone or tablet completely off, then slightly dampen a microfiber cloth with the spray (never spray anything directly on the device) and wipe the entire surface of the device – the back, the front, and each side. Then, let the device sit for the time indicated on the spray and wipe any remaining product away with a damp microfiber cloth.
Whether you’re working from home or as an “essential” employee, it is imperative that you heed the advice of the CDC and your electronic devices’ manufacturers to keep them clean and sanitized. After all, our hands spend a lot of time with them, which makes them the perfect breeding ground. Killing germs on your computers, screens, keyboards, and other equipment frequently will go a long way toward keeping you healthy and safe.
Finally, don't forget to clean the inside of your laptop and desktop periodically. The accumulation of dust, crust, and crumbs can clog fans, vents, and heat sinks. This can result in overheating, poor performance, and more wear and tear on your computer. We recommend powering off your computer and taking it outside. Use a can of compressed or canned air with short bursts to push all of the dust out the vents. When cleaning the fans, be sure to keep them from spinning while using the compressed air. If you cause the fans to spin at a high rate with the compressed air, it could potentially cause static damage to the fan or other components. If you are feeling intimidated by the whole process, Pennyrile Technologies can assist with cleaning your PC too!