Dirty electronics not only harbour germs but also work less efficiently. Here's how to get rid of the grime.
House Keeping: How to keep your gadgets clean
Most of us clean our homes regularly but all too often we neglect our electrical gadgets, which are left to gather dirt. Worrying research by the consumer magazine Which stated that filthy computer keyboards can harbour five times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. This, combined with the knowledge that dirt and dust can damage expensive electrical equipment, should be enough to inspire even the most unenthusiastic cleaners among us to pull on the rubber gloves.
Monitors and screens
Any screens - from your plasma TV to your laptop - are statically charged when switched on, which means they attract fluff and dust. Switch them off at the mains and unplug them before cleaning with specialist wipes such as PerfectData LCD/Plasma Screen Wipes (Dh29 for 30 at www.amazon.com) or the E-Cloth Screen Cleaning Pack (Dh59 at Lakeland, Mirdif City Centre and Mall of the Emirates).
Use rapid circular movements to prevent streaks, and apply an even and gentle pressure. Don't press too hard with your fingers. When your screen is sparkling and all smears and dust particles have gone, gently wipe a fabric softener sheet (the kind you usually use in your tumble dryer) across it to reduce static and prevent dust from resettling.
A dirty keyboard is not just unhygienic - grubby keys can stick, making typing tricky. Turn your computer off at the mains and disconnect the keyboard. Place a sheet of newspaper on a table or the floor, and turn the keyboard upside down above it so that any loose debris such as crumbs can fall out onto the paper below.
Gently shake the keyboard and change the angle to shift as much dirt as possible, then turn it upright and use a can of compressed air or a hair dryer on a cool setting to blast any remaining dust away.
Roll a ball of Cyber Clean putty (Dh26 for 145g at www.amazon.com) across your keyboard to disinfect the keys and to reach into the cracks and crevices between them.
If your cursor is sticking or jerky, you might have dust inside your mouse. Turn your computer off at the mains and disconnect the mouse. Turn it upside down and gently unscrew the plastic case beneath it so you can remove the ball. Wipe the ball using a slightly damp microfibre cloth, then put it to one side.
Use a cotton bud or a pair of tweezers to carefully remove any dirt from the rollers inside the hole, then replace the ball and screw the casing back on.
Wires and cables can gather dust over time, but they're quick and easy to clean. Make sure your device or gadget is turned off and unplugged before you touch the cables. Using a slightly damp microfibre cloth, gently grip the cable at one end, then slide it through your hand from one end to the other until it's fluff-free.
Do the same thing with a dry tea towel to remove the moisture from the cable. Only plug it back in when you're sure it's completely dry.
These get touched by everybody, so clean them regularly. First, remove the batteries and use a cotton bud to remove dirt from their compartment. If there's any sign of rust or corrosion, replace the batteries with new ones.
Dirt builds up between the buttons, so wipe the crevices with a cotton bud dipped in rubbing alcohol. If there's any caked-on grime that's more difficult to shift, use a toothpick to gently scrape it away.
Grubby phones can cause telephone acne on your jaw line - not a good look. Daily use means make-up, food, saliva and sweat all build up on our phones. They're often the dirtiest gadgets we own.
Turn off and unplug your home phone base stations, then wipe them with a slightly damp microfibre cloth to remove dust. For handsets and mobile phones, turn them off and use specialist phone wipes such as Falcon disinfecting phone wipes (Dh32 for 50 at www.amazon.com), paying special attention to the mouthpiece area.
CDs and DVDs
Avoid touching the faces of discs; instead, hold them by the edge and use a clean, dry, soft, lint-free cloth to wipe the surface, starting at the centre and wiping outward to the edge. To avoid scratching the discs, wipe in straight lines across the disc rather than in circles.
Keep the inside of DVD and CD players clean, too, by removing dust regularly - canned compressed air is best. Always return discs to their cases straight after use.
Hair and fluff can build up inside your hair dryer, which can cause it to overheat or even break. Once you've turned it off and unplugged it, remove any visible fluff from the grill using your fingers. Then, unscrew the removable grill and remove the filter from inside. Vacuum it thoroughly using your vacuum cleaner's brush attachment to remove any debris, then replace it and screw the grill back on.
Always check the owner's manual before attempting to clean items under warranty, since the use of some cleaning products or methods could void your warranty
Avoid accidents - take extra care when cleaning electrical equipment. Follow these golden rules.
Turn it off
Always turn off the power at the mains and unplug your gadget so it's disconnected from the power source before you start to clean.
Use a damp cloth
Use a slightly damp lint-free cloth when cleaning, not a dripping wet one. Moisture can damage electrical equipment.
When using any kind of cleaning product, never spray it directly onto your gadget. Apply it to a cloth instead.
Go to a professional
Don't attempt to deal with a major spillage or serious accident yourself. If you have a disaster, take your gadget to a repair shop and seek professional advice.