Cleaning

5 Quick Tricks to Get Your Electronics Squeaky Clean

It's easier than you think to get your devices looking like new.

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Is your flat screen so dusty, it looks like a fuzz screen? Computer keyboard more sticky than slick? Here are five ingenious ways to keep all your gadgets clean and working perfectly.

Lift keyboard gunk with DIY putty.

Skip blowing compressed air onto your keyboard, which pushes dirt deeper inside. Instead, use cleaning putty, says DIY whiz Melissa Burnell. Store-bought putty costs about $10, but you can create your own for pennies. Just mix 2 Tbs. of white glue and 1 Tbs. of water. In a separate bowl, mix 4 Tbs. of Borax and 4 Tbs. of water. Combine until a “slime” is formed. Simply knead it a bit, then press onto your keyboard. The gunk will come right off!

Remove wax from earbuds with a swab.

After listening to your favorite albums or e-books for a while, your earbuds can get coated with ear wax that muffles the sound. To the rescue: a cotton swab moistened with a solution of one part distilled water and one part 70 percent isopropyl alcohol, recommends Burnell. Simply rub the swab across each earbud —the alcohol softens the wax, so it wipes right off.

Polish appliance panels with a squeeze of lemon.

Getting grime off digital panels on dishwashers and other appliances without leaving behind scratches is easy, says kitchen gadget whiz Jeff Campbell. “Just mix 1⁄2 cup of Castile soap and 1 tsp. of lemon juice into 1 cup of water, dab onto a cloth, then wipe the surface.” Acids in lemon dissolve food debris, while the olive oil–based soap washes it away.

Sanitize remotes with a vodka ‘cocktail.’

With all that button-pushing, your TV remote is a hub of bacteria. Fortunately, eliminating this ick-factor is easy, assures Elizabeth Hemmings, author of Easy Green Cleaning ($11.99, Amazon). Though vodka is not strong enough to substitute for hand sanitizer, it can be used as a disinfectant to rid your remote of several bacteria, including staph. “Plus, it dries quickly, making it safe for electronic surfaces.” Simply spray a combination of one part water and one part vodka onto a cloth, then wipe.

Banish TV smudges with a misted cloth.

You know that little microfiber cleaning cloth that comes with your eyeglasses? It’s perfect for cleaning fragile flat-screen TVs without leaving scratches like paper towels can, reveals cleaning pro Wendy Williams. “Just rub gently in a circular motion to remove dust.” And for stubborn fingerprints: Mist the cloth with a solution that is equal parts white vinegar and distilled water. Since it doesn’t hold an electrical charge, distilled water helps repel dust.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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