How to Clean Earphones, Smartphones and Other Tech Items

How to Clean Earphones, Smartphones and Other Tech Items

January is a time where our homes are full with the latest gadgets after Christmas. Even if Santa didn’t think you good enough this year, you could belong to the 85% of the population that go to the January sales to snap up a few bargains. But in all the hubbub and rush of the season, people are often letting their guard down after it’s all finished – especially, it seems, when it comes to hygiene. Many of us will use these high-tech gadgets on a daily basis and even pass them from person to person – meaning a bacteria build-up is more than likely.

Since hygiene and germ-busting are important, we’ve put together some expert tips on the dos and don’ts for cleaning your high-tech hoard.

1. How to Clean Earphones and Headphones


Earphones and, of course, headphones can have some pretty nasty dermatological effects on you. For example, headphones can lead to things like acne and various other skin infections. This occurs when a build up of your dead skin and sweat leads to bacteria growth on the surfaces that make contact with you – the skin around your ears – say experts at the skin care advisory board, Simple. One such other piece of research indicates also that earphones can increase the bacteria in your ear by up to 700 times, in just one hour. So go easy on the usage without cleaning them!

But how do I clean them?

  • Use a cloth, dabbed in soapy water to clean the earphones or headphones. Wet wipes will also do the same job.
  • With small, detachable parts or metal, dry-brushing is an option – but try not to damage anything in the process


  • Don’t share earphones with others! A study shows that harmful bacteria can transfer quite easily from one’s ear to another – potentially transmitting some pretty nasty stuff…

-How regularly should I clean earphones or headphones?

Headphones should be wiped daily (if you use them often) – just as your skin should. Do a deep clean about once a month – again, dependent on use.

Earphones also daily – if you have silicone buds, take them off and wash them once a week.

2. Cleaning Smartphones and Tablets

You’ve probably heard it before but smartphones can be extremely dirty. Just think of how much you and others come in contact with your own, everyday. Some smartphones can even contain up to 10 times more bacteria than your average toilet seat – nasty stuff like staphylococcus, too! One study even revealed that 75% of people used their smartphone in the bathroom – and they were honest ones.

In fact, in one analysis of such devices, the worst examples had 170 times more faecal coliform than the level considered safe. So keep it in your pants, next time you go to the bathroom…

But how do I clean them?

  • Microfibre cloths – use them to clean the screens!
  • For a deep clean, disinfect and remove dirt with a mix of water and rubbing alcohol or water and vinegar on a cloth – not too much though!
  • When doing the deep clean, turn it off, remove the battery, sim card and co. Then use a cotton bud to do the dirty work.
  • Don’t forget to disinfect your phone cases and covers too!
  • Allow your phone or tablet to dry completely before switching it back on. 


  • Don’t spray cleaning solutions directly on the screen, use a cloth instead as it may get into places, like speakers and microphones, and damage the equipment.
  • Don’t use a hair dryer! Your electronic devices have a lot of sensitive components that damage easily.  

How regularly should I clean my phone or tablet?

Phones: every other day  for the screens. Every month for the deep clean.

Tablets: apply the above. But consider how much you use it – you may not need to clean it so often.

3. How to Clean Laptops, Notebooks and Keyboards


Notebooks and laptops too are often pretty grubby – think about how much you use your one at work, for example. Bacteria like E.Coli are often present for those who eat at their desk too – which can give a note book 5 times more bacteria than a toilet seat! This can lead to diseases and food poisoning due to the organisms that can be transferred when you touch your mouth, ears or eyes.

But how do I clean my laptop/notebook/keyboard?

  • Make sure it’s off/keyboard is unplugged.
  • Brush out the big stuff using a soft brush and then spray compressed air to remove the fine dirt between the keys (also works on your mouse)
  • Stains can be removed with wet wipes or rubbing alcohol – but be careful not to apply too much!
  • Only turn your computer back on/plug your keyboard back in when it’s completely dry!


  • Vacuum your keyboard or notebook!
  • If your device is overheating it’s probably the fan – try spraying some compressed air in there.
  • If this doesn’t work, you may need to contact the manufacturer, as it may void your warrantee.

NOTE: dust contains allergens, be cautious when removing it!

How regularly should I clean my laptop or notebook?

Mice should be cleaned very regularly, and your screen should be taken care of at least once a month – it depends on how often you have lunch on it.

4. Smart Watches

Just like your smartphone, your smart watch receives a lot of finger action, picking up dead skin, grease and general grime. And the exact same happens with the strap. So overall, it gets pretty dirty..

But how do I clean them?

  • Is your smart watch waterproof or non-waterproof? If non-waterproof, think twice about cleaning it with liquids.
  • Diluted soap in tepid water or a solution of vinegar and water should clean up most areas on your smartphone – with a non waterproof one
  • Use a cotton bud to access those hard to reach areas – for both
  • Clean the straps vigorously, as they collect a lot of dirt and mildew on them. If they are leather – take care not to impregnate it with whatever you are using to clean them.
  • As usual, turn it off and be absolutely sure it’s dry when you switch it back on.


  • Soak your smart watch if it isn’t waterproof – easy.
  • Clean inside the smart watch with moisture: use a dry cotton bud or the like

How regularly should I clean my smart watch?

Wipe the screen daily, clean the wristband once per week and give it a deep clean once every half year or so.

5. Cameras

There’s nothing more annoying than thinking you’ve shot something awesome, only to find our that you had a smear on the lens, right? This isn’t the only reason you should clean your camera too – think of how many people you show your photos to!

But how do I clean my camera?

  • To clean the body use a fuzz-free, dampened cloth. Important: Don’t use detergents!
  • Inside: remove the battery and memory card and use a soft brush to get rid of dust and grains of sand.
  • For the lens, use an optic cleaning cloth, which you can get at an optician or in a photography retail shop – it’s worth the extra money!
  • If you can detach your lens, best is to clean with a hand pump/enema, which you can get in a pharmacy. Blow away dust from the interior and the mirrors of the camera and the lens itself.
  • For stubborn dirt, especially on the sensor, take it to an expert. You don’t want to break anything!

How regularly should I clean my camera?

Depends on usage, but try to give it a once over when it gets some heavy usage.

So there you have it, the definitive guide to cleaning your gadgets. But what about you guys? Do you have any other expert tips to share with us? Let us know in the comments.

Ratih has an intense passion for food. From sourcing ingredients to dining on a rooftop, she has done it all! Hit her up for advice on the best Indo food in Singapore!