cleaning

Sara’s Tech Tips: How To Clean Your Gadgets

May 24, 2011 at 9:48 am , by

Whether the dust that has created a protective barrier between you and your ability to see your TV screen or the computer keyboard contains at least one crumb from every meal you’ve multi-tasked over the last several months… our gadgets can get pretty nasty. Here’s the scoop on how to clean them (without ruining them!).

What you’ll need: Water and isopropyl alcohol (mixed 60/40,) a bottle of compressed air, microfiber or electrostatic cloths (like Swiffer or Pledge dry cloths) and cotton swabs.

Remember: You should always turn off and unplug all devices before cleaning them. Also, rather than vigorously scrubbing your gear like you would your dishes, channel the image of handling a baby when cleaning your gadgets. They may seem tough with the ease in which they solve all of our problems, but they are fragile (expensive!) machines to be handled with care.

Screens (computer, TV, and smart phone) seem to be magnets for dust and grime. Even the cleanest among us will notice a layer of dust coating the surface of the TV or computer. And don’t forget about the smudgy finger prints. First, wipe them down with a microfiber cloth (which traps dust between fibers) or a electrostatic cloth (which has synthetic fibers that create magnetic charge to pull dust to them). By doing this, you actually remove dust rather than spreading it around or unsettling it just to have it land back on your screen within minutes. Then, use a cloth dampened with the water/alcohol mixture to remove the fingerprints. (Paper towels and napkins are too abrasive for standard screens and can leave minute scratches on the surface).

Keyboards (computers and smart phones) are a more delicate area to clean because any fluid you use can drain into the actual machine, causing damage. That’s why it’s important to spray liquid cleaner (like the alcohol/water mix or other gadget-specific cleaning products) onto a cloth and NOT onto the device itself. Wipe the top of the keys off with a cloth and then use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to trace the sides of the keys. Finally, use the compressed air to blast any dust and grime out from the inside of the keyboard.

Earphones often end up attracting earwax or other unidentified yuck from the bottom of the bag or purse they have been riding in. If they have soft removable covers, take them off and soak them for 10/15 minutes in a glass of water mixed with a couple drops of soap. Then, using an alcohol-dipped cotton swab, wipe over the earphones themselves. Let them dry for 20 minutes afterward to ensure that all of the water has evaporated.


Beautify Your Home This Fall

October 20, 2010 at 6:22 pm , by

Inspiration Board

Most of us think spring when it comes to major home clean-ups, but for me, fall is the perfect time to organize and nest. Even as a home editor, my apartment is far from perfect—I’ve got a major closet and paperwork purge on my to-do list, and shelves I’ve been meaning to install for, oh, forever. If you’ve also got a lot of work to do to get your place in shape, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes we just need a reminder that you can break down these seemingly huge tasks into easy, 20-minute chunks. That’s why I signed up for Apartment Therapy’s 20/20 Home Cure. (It started Monday, so I’m a couple days late, but I’ll catch up—you can, too.) Here’s the genius: Maxwell, the founder of popular design blog Apartment Therapy, will email you every day for the next 20 days with a 20-minute task to tackle. Today’s to-do: Find inspirational photos for your home. (Day 1′s task—surface cleaning one room—wasn’t quite as fun.) It’s definitely a commitment, but at the end you’ll have a much cleaner, and more beautiful, house to show for it. And with the holidays coming up, who doesn’t want that?

Tell me, what home projects are on your list this fall?

Photo via Heliotrop.


This Stuff Works: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

April 7, 2010 at 5:42 pm , by

mrclean-magic-eraser-bath-scrubberDon’t you love it when products actually live up to their claims? Us too! That’s why we’ve got a brand-new weekly feature for you. Every Wednesday our editors and readers will share “This Stuff Works” picks for the must-have products they couldn’t live without. First up is Courtney.

A few months back my local grocery store was having a sale on these Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubbers, so thought I would try them. I tossed them into my basket, and forgot about them until last weekend. (I do clean my bathroom frequently, I just happened to hide this particular product from myself). I read the simple instructions and climbed on in to the tub to see if these things would do the trick. Oh wow—I never thought I could be this excited about cleaning my shower, but this little sponge really was magic! I just scrubbed a bit here and a bit there, and before I knew it my tub was gleaming brighter than the top of Mr. Clean’s bald head. There were no harsh chemical smells either, just a clean Febreze scent which was a total bonus. I’ve already told my friends and family about this great product (I know, you can only imagine how exciting my life is) but I wanted to share it with all of you as well. Happy Cleaning!

Now it’s your turn: Share your “This Stuff Works” favorites–the beauty, home, or other products that you can’t live without–in the comments. You could be featured next week!


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