Our handheld electronics and cell phones are guaranteed to be covered in dirt and germs. They are always either in our hands or in our handbags or pockets, and end up really filthy. A study found that cell phones are 18 times dirtier than the flush handles on toilets. Most people don’t give it much thought until their screen is so smudged it’s embarrassing. Because handheld electronics are so sensitive, we mustn’t use chemical cleaners or sanitizers on them so we should be in the habit of keeping our hands as clean as possible. However, it’s impossible to prevent transfers of makeup, and fingerprints to our mobile electronics. Following are some tips for cleaning them.

How to Clean Your Smartphone, Tablet & other Gadgets

Cleaning Touchscreens

Carry a small microfiber cloth to frequently wipe the touchscreen. Never use paper towels or tissues because the wood fibers in them can scratch plastic surfaces. Rub the screen very gently in a circular motion. Pressing too hard can cause scratches. You can dampen the cloth with a little water to remove stubborn spots, but don’t use any cleaning products on it. Usually it will be enough if you just breath on it and wipe, like you do with sunglasses. Always turn off your device before cleaning, it is much easier to see the smudges when it isn’t lit up.

Every so often, you’ll need to clean the microfiber cloth too. Soak it in warm soapy water and give it a gentle scrub before rinsing it. Squeeze the water out of it and let it air dry.

You can
protect your touchscreen by covering it with a clear adhesive protector. They are inexpensive and available online and in stores like Walmart and Target. They protect the screen from dirt which can scratch the surface causing permanent damage.

Check the manual for any cleaning information about your specific electronic device. Some, like
iPhones, specifically warn against using any cleaning products on their screens.

Keypad Care

Just like a computer, handheld electronics need to have their keyboards cleaned periodically. A can of compressed air will help blow out any dust. If keys are sticking, you can use a small soft brush to rid the keys or trackball of bits of dirt. You can also buy wet wipes designed for electronics to get tough grime out of the keypad or from around the trackball in a Blackberry. A simple solution is also to wet a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and use that to remove sticky dirt.

Bluetooth Headset or Earpiece

It's no surprise that these get covered in dirt, fingerprints and oil from hair or skin too. They also require very gentle cleaning. Turn off the device before you clean it. Wipe it with a microfiber cloth often to keep crud from building up on it. Periodically wet the cloth a little with electronic safe cleaning spray, and wipe the headset or earpiece down completely. Let the device air dry completely before powering it back up.

A Gadget to Clean Your Gadget

You can get a UV light sterilizer for your small electronic devices, just like you can for your toothbrush. It is a portable, battery operated device that kills 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses in minutes.