Knowing how to clean our tech is one of the many ways we can control the spread of germs in our homes. And right now, knowing how to sanitize things should be a top priority. Tap or click here for the disinfectants proven to kill coronavirus germs. Did you know there’s a right and wrong way to clean all your technical gadgets? Each device has its own maintenance instructions. But don’t worry, just because there are different ways to disinfect your things doesn’t mean it’s hard to do. We’re here to help, starting with making sure you have all the necessary cleaning products.

Get the right materials

Whether you’re cleaning your laptop, iPad, smartphone or favorite mouse, there are a few good cleaning items to always keep on hand. The best part? They’re flexible for tidying up just about anything. Compressed air. This is especially useful for cleaning extremely tight quarters and crevices you aren’t normally able to reach. Remember to be careful to follow the instructions printed on the can. Isopropyl alcohol. Alcohol evaporates quickly, so it doesn’t damage intricate or fragile parts of our beloved tech devices. Just coat a Q-tip or cotton ball to wipe away grime. Microfiber cleaning cloths. These cloths are designed to absorb and remove dust, oil, smudges, fingerprints and dirt without leaving streaks or lint. Plus, they can work on anything from a TV screen to camera lenses and filters.

Before you clean

Make sure all of your devices are powered down and unplugged. If your device has any batteries, remove them just to be safe. Double-check your cleaning supplies. Are they expired? Are those cloths in need of a wash? Attempting to clean your tech with dirty materials will defeat the purpose and waste your time. Make sure everything is clean and ready to go, including your hands.

Wipe down the outside casing

Take your microfiber cloth and wipe around the outside of your laptop, phone, or whatever it is you’re cleaning. Don’t wipe the screen just yet. After you’ve done the exterior, open your laptop, computer case, smartphone case or other casings and clean all visible surfaces.

Clean your screens

You can do this same procedure for monitors, displays and just about any screen. Using a new microfiber cloth, wipe down screens from left to right, then top to bottom. You can also opt for gentle, circular motions. Don’t apply too much pressure. Glass displays are typically very thin and can be fragile. Just keep wiping until you’re satisfied with the way the screen looks. If there are smudges that refuse to budge, try adding a few drops of the isopropyl alcohol to the cloth and wipe again. It shouldn’t take very long to come off. Never spray or pour liquids directly onto your display screens or tech. Always dampen cloths instead.

Cleaning the keyboard, touchpad and mouse

Now’s the time for that can of compressed air. Do not shake the can before use. Read the instructions carefully and attach the straw firmly. Spray small areas such as USB ports and between your keyboard’s keys in short bursts to loosen dirt and debris. You may want to do this outside because it can get messy. Turn over laptops or keyboards and shake gently to help release the loose debris. It’s usually not necessary to pop off your keyboard’s keys to clean beneath them, but that’s an option if you spill sodas or drop a lot of crumbs. RELATED: How to get rid of bloatware on your Windows PC After cleaning the main expanse of your laptop, phone and other devices, use the compressed air to clean out all other ports, cooling vents and any other open areas on your devices. For particularly grimy surfaces, use a damp cloth with a bit of isopropyl alcohol to clean off touchpads, keys and mice. Wet the cloth, do not pour the alcohol onto your tech.

Finishing up

Now that you’ve cleaned everything, it’s time to put it all back together. Make sure the alcohol has completely dried before reconnecting your tech or inserting batteries. This should not take long. You know how to clean all your tech, so you don’t have to worry about whether you’re doing a good job or whether you’re using the right tools anymore. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of cleaning your devices, especially if they’re shared with other members of your household, such as computers and remotes. Cleanliness is important when it comes to hardware, of course, and you should set aside time as part of your regular schedule to take care of this. And don’t forget to clean your phone throughout the day, since it’s handled so often and can be a vector for germs. Tap or click here for the best way to sanitize your smartphone. By clicking our links, you’re supporting our research, as we may earn a very small commission. Recommendations are not part of any business incentives.