If you are reading this, you are among the millions who use technology every single day. With constant use comes dirt – both virtual and physical grime are within your control! Maintain your machines inside and out with these tips.
Get started with the insides.
Photos, videos and downloads: Your computer, smartphone or tablet collect lots of things along the way, and over time, the excess can pack your storage to capacity and beyond. This could slow down or even worse practically stop your device from doing things you need to do. It is important to regularly organize or delete downloaded files, photos and videos. Depending on how much you do, this should be done more or less often. With so many manufacturers and models to choose from, all the ways of cleaning these files cannot be listed here. Luckily, each manufacturer provides online manuals, which you can search for online using the model number and the word “manual”; you can also refer to guides that came in the box with the device. Another way to learn how to clean files is to use the built-in help files, which can usually be found using a pre-installed app or by choosing “help” from a menu.
Cookies and downloaded Internet files: As you surf, you collect files, instructions and other site information and this material is referred to as “cookies.” Cookies help you by pre-loading things like logos and pictures, login details, and tracking information to help you the next time you visit a site. When you choose to save your username or password, or receive suggestions from a shopping site based on what you purchased the last time, you are using cookies. Sometimes, if an old or “broken” cookie is on your system, it can keep you from being able to get around or log into an account. By cleaning your cookies, you “start fresh” … and if you have not cleaned your cookies in years, you may be wasting valuable space on your device.
Old or outdated programs: Having older programs on your system is not necessarily bad if it is working well and does not have any security issues. From time to time, you are prompted to update programs on computers. You may also be asked to update apps on smartphones and tablets; you can even set a lot of this to happen automatically when connected to a Wi-Fi network. Programs and apps that you no longer use should be removed to free up space and protect against possible hacking if unpatched or no longer being updated by the company or software developer. To find out how to remove a program or app, refer to the help system on your device, or use your favorite search engine with the name of the program you’d like to delete and the manufacturer and model you are using.
Don’t forget the outsides!
Tablets and smartphones: The amount of touching and exposure to the outside can make your tablet or smartphone a germ factory. First, turn the device completely off and take it out of its case. Remove surface dirt with a lint free cloth dampened, not dripping wet with distilled water. Microfiber is best. Using extreme gentleness so as not to damage the protective coating on the screen, wipe down your phone. Take a cotton swab to clean tight spaces around the edges and the buttons. Use cotton swabs to clean around crevices like the edges of the screen and buttons. Depending on what your case is made of, you may clean it with gentle dish soap, isopropyl alcohol or to be on the safe side, distilled water. Just be sure it dries completely before you put it back onto your phone or tablet.
Computers and laptops: Power down the machine completely, do not leave it on standby. Unplug it if it is connected to electricity, and remove any other connections (printer, network cables or anything else attached by any port). You will need compressed air, which is available at office supply and computer shops, soft lint-free cloth, and distilled water for wiping things down. Gentle cleansers may be used on the case, but avoid using on keyboards and buttons. Most desktop computer can be opened, and very carefully blow away dust on vents and fans so as not to damage interior parts. Follow directions on the can for proper and safe use. Keeping the air holes clean keeps computers from overheating and helps them to run more efficiently. Turn desktop keyboards upside down and gently tap to remove dust and crumbs that may have fallen between keys. For laptop keyboards, it is best to use a small vacuum cleaner or gently blow compressed air. Then, wipe down with damp cloth; wipe down the mouse as well. Make sure everything is dry before re-plugging anything in and starting up the computer.