Cleaning Your Electronic Devices to Fight COVID-19

Wash your hands and your devices!

Are you washing your hands a lot? That is the most important thing to do now. You can also do more to help stop the spread of viruses and germs. When it comes to your devices, wiping the fingerprints off your screen is not enough! Don’t forget to clean your phone, tablet, keyboard, or other frequently handled devices. Washing your hands and your devices can help keep you healthy!

Follow the directions below.

First, you will learn how to clean the device – remove dirt and germs from the surface. Then you will disinfect – killing germs that remain.

You will need a household disinfectant. Lysol disinfectant spray, Purell multi-surface disinfectant, or Clorox disinfecting wipes. All of these are effective against viruses such as COVID-19. Notice these products say the word “disinfectant” instead of just “cleaner.” Do NOT use solutions containing acetone or bleach for your electronics.

Gather other materials you might need. If you can, get disposable gloves. Microfiber cloths and paper towels are also handy. Cotton swabs can reach inside small crevices.

4 Steps

Step 1: Preparation and Protection

  • Find a work area with fresh air, if possible. Stay away from areas with pets or children. Don’t do this where you prepare food.
  • Get all the necessary materials. Get your devices and don’t forget the accessories. Unplug and power off the device.
  • Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds before you begin. Put on disposable gloves, if available.

Step 2: Cleaning

  • Wipe down hard surfaces with a disinfecting wipe. If you don’t have a wipe, dampen a paper towel with disinfecting spray. Always spray onto the towel, not directly onto the device. Use only enough solution to wet the towel. Squeeze out any dripping wipes. Clean the surfaces of device cases, keyguards, and headphones.
  • For touch screens and computer displays – consider using Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. Another option is to wet a microfiber cloth with 70% isopropyl alcohol. There is some risk of scratching your screen if you use a paper towel.
  • Apply cleaning solution or isopropyl alcohol to a cotton swab to reach inside small crevices.
  • Wipe your device dry if needed after all visible dirt is removed.

Step 3: Disinfecting

  • Using a new wipe, go over the device and accessories a second time. Repeat steps 2 and 3 from above.
  • Check the cleaning product label. How long should the surface remain wet? Clorox wipes list a contact time of 4 minutes for disinfecting. If surfaces dry too quickly, re-apply cleaner.
  • Allow the device to air dry.

Step 4: Clean-Up

  • Throw away used wipes, towels, and gloves in a lined trashcan with a lid.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Enjoy the comfort and reassurance of a device that is as clean as your hands are!


Note: To compile this resource, we cross-referenced manufacturer advice from major electronic companies. We compared it to CDC guidance on controlling the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 can live on some surfaces for 72 hours. If you have questions or concerns about the safety of a particular method for your device, please contact the manufacturer.

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Tom DiAgostino

Tom is the Outreach and Training Coordinator at TechOWL. Before starting at TechOWL in 2019, Tom worked as an English Teacher through the Fulbright Commission in Uruguay as well as a Social Worker and Spanish interpreter in the foster care system in North Philadelphia. As a person with dyslexia, Tom is passionate about readability and website accessibility. Along with managing TechOWL’s social media platforms, Tom also co-leads the Fabrication program CreATe together and assists with managing the TechOWL website.

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