Make Sure You Do This To Rid Your iPhone Of Bacteria

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Once upon a time, I used Windex to clean a dusty flat-screen television display. With the first wipe, I knew something was wrong. Lo and behold: The chemicals had permanently damaged the screen. I was mortified. Since then, I've learned a thing or two about how to properly clean the gadgets in my life. Microfiber cloths are a must. You should also have Q-tips and rubbing alcohol on hand. But spraying cleaner directly on top of delicate electronics? No, no, no.

If the crumbs building up inside your keyboard could feed a small nation and your iPad looks like you rubbed a Big Mac across its screen, it's time for a little cleaning. It won't take long, and if you follow this guide, you'll ensure you don't end up accidentally damaging anything in the process.

Read on for our tips.

This month, we're asking you to toss out everything you thought you knew about spring cleaning and give every corner of your life a refresh. The inspiration for a happier, clutter-free you is right this way.

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Photographed by Ruby Yeh.

Eating at your desk is a bad habit, not just because it deprives you of a much-needed midday break — little crumbs end up falling from your sandwich and wedging themselves underneath keys andthensuddenlythespacebarquitsworking.

First, if it's not wireless, unplug it. Hold it upside down over a trash can (or outside) and shake to get any loose crumbs and debris out. It helps if you play this in the background. You can also use a soft bristled brush, like an old toothbrush, to brush off dust and debris from the edges of keys.

Next, head back to your desk and wipe the keys down with a disinfectant wipe (you don't want to spray cleaner directly onto the keyboard itself). If you really want to get nitty-gritty, you can use a Q-tip dowsed in rubbing alcohol to swab keys and the spaces between keys. Some folks recommend running a dry Magic Eraser across the keyboard, and that does a good job.

That's your basic cleaning. If keys are really sticking, though, you'll want to remove the keys, too. Use a coin or fingernail to pry one corner upward; move to an adjacent corner; peel it off. You can then used a can of compressed air and/or an alcohol-soaked Q-tip to get out all the crumbs and gunk. If you remove all the keys, you can then clean them all together in a large plastic bag with some dishwashing soap. Shake the keys inside for a few minutes to wash them off, then carefully empty the water from the bag and rinse the keys clean. (Alternatively, you can run them through the dishwasher.) Dry them thoroughly with a paper towel before returning them to their proper places on the keyboard, pressing each down into place with your finger.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Phone Screen

Fingerprints and food grease can leave your phone screen sticky and smudged. For a basic clean, use a microfiber cloth (the kind you might get at the optometrist's office along with a pair of glasses) and rub it gently until all those prints are wiped clean.

That should suffice, but if you've got some stubborn goop on there, power the phone down and spray the cloth with either distilled water, half water and half white vinegar, or a dedicated smartphone cleaning spray. Then, wipe the screen down with the moist cloth. When the display is dry, switch the phone back on.

You don't want to use paper, paper towels, or more abrasive cloths to wipe the screen because it could cause tiny (or not so tiny) scratches.
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Photo: Courtesy Samsung.
Camera Lens

Many new smartphones use super-tough materials such as sapphire crystal as their lens covers. This makes them far more resistant to scratches, but you still want to clean your lens cover carefully. If it's got some dust or dirt, gently wipe a microfiber cloth across the lens to remove it. If you need more intense cleaning than that, spray the cloth with a half water, half rubbing alcohol mix and wipe again, or use a lens cleaner.
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Photographed by Ruby Yeh.

For a notebook, you've got the joy of cleaning both a keyboard and a display.

First, you want to shut down and unplug the computer. Next, use a damp, lint-free cloth to wipe the exterior clean. For the screen, use a dry microfiber cloth or a water-moistened lint-free cloth to wipe the display clean. For a light keyboard cleaning, you can continue to use a moist cloth to wipe the keyboard area clean. Use a Q-tip to scrub between keys, and a toothpick if you've got any visible crumbs wedged around keys.
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Photo: Courtesy Logitech.
Remote Control

Have you ever cleaned your remote control before? Er, yeah, us either. To clean it off and kill germs, use a similar technique to cleaning a desktop keyboard. Dampen a Q-tip with rubbing alcohol and swipe it clean. If there's gunk in crevices, a toothpick can help push it out.
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Photo: Courtesy Samsung.
TV Screen

As we mentioned before, most modern TVs feature a protective coating that is ruined if you use Windex or similar products. To be extra safe, check your owner's manual for what the manufacturer recommends.

Wiping with a soft, lint-free microfiber cloth should be okay no matter the TV type or brand. This will safely wipe dust from the screen. For a deeper clean (say, if the dog slobbered on the display), you can moisten the cloth with water or a mix of water and a tiny bit of mild liquid dish soap.

You definitely do not want to use alcohol, chemical cleaners, or cleaning wipes on your TV screen.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.

If you use your EarPods religiously, they can get quite disgusting. You can restore them to their cleanly beginnings using a baby wipe on the plastic pod (and many Apple forum users say using a wipe on the mesh is fine, too). If you've got wax on the mesh of the pods themselves, you can use a toothpick to dig it out. You could also try a small needle, but what you don't want to do is damage the mesh speaker grille, so you'll want to be very careful.
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Photo: Courtesy Sony.

Headphones looking (or smelling) a little grody? Wipe them down with rubbing alcohol, either with individual wipes or with a damp paper towel. It'll clean and sanitize at the same time. You can do this with a little hand sanitizer if you're in a pinch.

For leather headphone pads, just use a soft water-moistened cloth and dab the surface until it's clean — don't rub or wipe excessively.

If there's a lot of earwax built up inside the pads, you can try using a little hydrogen peroxide.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
White Cables

If your MacBook or Lightning cables look anything like mine do, they are less white and more a filthy shade of gray. To clean these, wipe them down with an alcohol wipe or some white vinegar sprayed onto a paper towel or cloth. You can also use a Magic Eraser on the cables to wipe them sparkly-clean.
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Photo: Courtesy Jawbone.
Wearable Fitness Trackers

If you don't clean your fitness trackers regularly, you could end up with an irritating rash. You want to clean yours lightly but regularly. Wipe it down with a cloth or Q-tip and rubbing alcohol and dry with a clean towel or cloth.

If you start to get a rash or feel irritation from your tracker, it could be caused by one of a number of things, including allergies, soaps getting trapped underneath, or blocked skin ducts. Giving your wrist some breathing time and wiping the tracker's surface clean should help.