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Keeping your technology germ free

Photo supplied: Lawrence Smith

Keeping technology germ free has come under the spotlight because of Covid-19. Blogger, Patrick Moynahan, from Computer Recycling in Auckland, shares his advice about protecting us and our devices from harmful bacteria and germs. 

Electronic devices have a major presence in our everyday lives. Smartphones are the most common, with headphones, laptops and PCs as examples of other devices we may use every day.

Although they assist in making life easier, they can also become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria if they are not cleaned regularly.

By understanding how to clean our technology, we are better equipped to protect our devices, as well as ourselves, from harmful germs and bacteria, which can fester and grow if left untreated. Keeping clean means staying protected. Here are some tips on how to keep our devices germ free this season.


We tend to take our smartphones everywhere we go, hardly ever letting them leave our sides even to go to the toilet. It is no surprise that people often say that smartphones carry more germs than a toilet seat.

These phones, which consistently pick up dust, dirt and bacteria, are also often placed in close contact with our faces, mouths and ears. Therefore, it is important to understand how to clean these products to limit the danger they could pose for us.

Steps for cleaning smart phones:

1 Remove the phone from its case.

2 Give the case a good rinse in warm water and let it air dry.

3 Use cotton swabs to gently swab around crevices, such as the earpiece, speaker grills and other ports/connection places on the phone.

4 Be extra careful when swabbing not to leave any fibres behind or dislodge any pieces inside the ports.

5 Use a small brush instead if the swab is too big.

6 Use a screen wipe to thoroughly clean the screen and the body of the phone.

7 Use a microfibre cloth or clean towel to clear any visible streaks after using the wipe.


Listening devices are extremely important to keep clean as we are constantly inserting these into/around our ears. Earphones can become a magnet for bacteria that can cause ear infections or other illnesses if left uncleaned. Thankfully, we can clean these in a safe way that does not harm us or the product.

Steps for cleaning headphones:

1 Use a microfibre cloth and water to eliminate any build up of dirt.

2 Remove the tips and clean them with soap and water, if the earphone tips are removeable. Then rinse and use a clean water-dampened microfibre cloth to wipe down the earphones and the cords.

3 Use a soft-bristled brush to reach and clean the dirt from the more challenging smaller crevices in the device.

4 Refer to the care instructions from the manufacturer if the product is higher tech and you are worried about damage.

Laptops and PCs 

Cleaning your laptop/PC can help extend its life as well as ours. The multitude of facets of a keyboard makes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria if left untreated.

Steps for cleaning laptops and PCs:

1 Turn off the device and disconnect any power cord/battery.

2 Turn the laptop upside down and gently tap it to get rid of any loose debris that may be trapped in it.

3 Use canned air and a cotton swab to further loosen/expel gunk stuck between the keys.

4 Use cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) to wipe down the keys, being careful not to pour the solution inside.

Steps for cleaning the screen:

1 Use a clean damp microfibre cloth to remove dust and fingerprints.

2 Use water or eyeglass cleaner for touch screens to clean away any smudges.

3 Remember not to spray any cleaning solutions directly onto the device; instead, spray it onto the cloth first then use.

4 Remember to also clean any external parts of your laptop/PC.

5 Spray your microfibre cloth with a dishwash and water solution and wipe the exterior.

6 Rinse the cloth and be sure to remove any soap remnants, followed this with a dry towel to remove any leftover moisture.

7 Refer to the care guide provided by the manufacturer if still unsure about these methods for cleaning the product.

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For more information:

Contact Patrick by email: [email protected]

Computer recycling website 


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